Definition of Resisting Arrest in Oklahoma
It’s a misdemeanor to knowingly resists, by the use of force or violence, a law enforcement officer in the performance of his or her duties. To be found guilty of this crime, there must be some act of aggression by the defendant from which one can reasonably infer forcible resistance to, or interference with, an officer. The main difficulty found in the interpretation of this law has to do with the right to resist an unlawful arrest. Under Oklahoma law, a law enforcement officer is authorized to arrest without a warrant in several circumstances. These include when:
- a misdemeanor is committed or attempted in the officer’s presence,
- the officer has probable cause to believe that a person under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating substance was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle involved in an accident,
- an officer has probable cause to believe a person has committed an act of domestic violence within the past four hours, or
- an officer is acting on a violation of a protective order.
If a peace officer lacks authority to arrest a person without an arrest warrant and attempts to do so, the officer is a trespasser, and the person sought to be arrested may resist. A person may use only reasonable force in resisting an unlawful arrest.
An arrest for a misdemeanor, without a warrant, where the arresting officer has probable cause, based on information coming to the officer’s senses or the officer’s personal observation at the time, to believe that a misdemeanor or other public offense is being committed in his or her presence by the arrestee, is not unlawful, even though arrestee is subsequently found innocent of the charges. If an officer’s mistake is honest and reasonable, the arrest is lawful. However, that mere suspicion or subterfuge doesn’t justify a warrantless misdemeanor arrest and that information supplied by a third person doesn’t suffice.
A defendant can’t be charged with both with resisting an officer and with assault and battery upon a police officer for the same conduct by the defendant, occurring during the same transaction.
Punishment For Resisting Arrest in Oklahoma
This crime is a misdemeanor. The maximum punishment in the county jail is one year. The maximum fine is $500.
Source: 21 O.S. § 268
Current as of June 19, 2019.