What You Need to Know
What is Louisiana Resisting Arrest?
In Louisiana, resisting an arrest is part of a broader criminal charge: “resisting an officer.” This means that you have interfered while an officer was trying to do his or her job. An “officer” is not just a police officer – it can be any officer working in an official capacity – such as a parole officer, wildlife enforcement, marshal, warden etc. In Louisiana, you could be charged with resisting an officer if you do any of the following
- The police officer has told you that you are under arrest and you run away or attempt to run away
- You physically resist being arrested
- You threaten or try to injure the police officer
- You injure the police officer
- You refuse to give your name or other identifying information to the police officer or give false information
- You do not disperse when gathered in a public location and the police officer tells you to leave
- You enter an area that has been sealed off by the police – by tape, barricade, etc.
This is a pretty broad category of offenses and it is a common criminal charge in Louisiana.
Is Resisting Arrest a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
Using force against a police officer or threatening to do so makes the charge a felony. The police officer does not actually need to be injured. So for example, if you pull out a gun and threaten to shoot the officer, this would be felony resisting an officer. Actually injuring the officer is definitely a felony. Resisting arrest without force or the threat of force is a misdemeanor.
Conviction for misdemeanor resisting arrest has a fine of up to $500 and up to 6 months in prison. Felony resisting arrest carries a fine of up to $2,000 and/or prison for 1-3 years.
Resisting Arrest and the Louisiana Hate Crime Law
There was recently some confusion about how the Louisiana hate crime law relates to resisting arrest. The Louisiana law for criminal hate charges was revised in 2016 to include police officers. This means that if a person attacks a police officer because they are an officer, they can be charged with a hate criminal charge. An Acadiana police chief interpreted the law to mean that resisting arrest could now be considered a hate crime, but Governor John Bel Edwards officially stated that the law did not cover resisting arrest and that the police chief was mistaken.
“Resisting arrest is not considered a hate crime under the legislation spearheaded by Rep. Lance Harris,” Richard Carbo said in a statement. “The law clearly defines what is and is not a hate crime, and it appears that the police chief is inaccurate. Neither the bill’s author nor the governor agrees with his assessment.”