You have probably heard many times how police need to have a reason to arrest you. This does not mean mistakes do not happen -- like cases of mistaken identity -- but it does mean police cannot make random arrests, picking up people with no reason at all. These are groundless arrests.
Unfortunately, some critics worry that there are two main ways police still do this: They just use charges for resisting arrest or obstruction of justice.
These are both justifiable offenses, in some cases. If an officer tries to arrest you on drug charges and you shove the officer and run, you can legitimately get charged with resisting arrest.
What worries people, though, is when police use these charges improperly, essentially trying to intimidate the public. There is a bit of a gray area concerning what really counts as resisting arrest.
For instance, perhaps you are walking along the sidewalk, having done nothing wrong. Out of nowhere, a police officer runs up and tells you to get on the ground and put your hands behind your back. You don't react right away. Instead, you raise your hands and turn toward the officer, protesting your innocence and asking what he or she thinks you did wrong.
That's when the officer tackles you, pins you down and says you're getting charged with resisting arrest because you refused to comply.
You can see how a case like this would be incredibly infuriating. Is simply not reacting as fast as the officer wants suddenly grounds for an arrest? Does protesting an unfair or even illegal arrest now mean that you're guilty of a crime? If you do get arrested, just try to stay calm. Remember that you do have rights and legal options. It is time to carefully consider exactly what they are.
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