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Resisting Police or Resist Arrest

In New South Wales it is an offence to interfere with police or prevent police from doing their job. A person can be charged with this offence if they do something that amounts to ‘resisting’ or ‘hindering’ police while they are working. A person can also be charged if they encourage someone else to ‘resist’, ‘hinder’ or assault police. The maximum penalty for resisting police or resist arrest is 10 penalty units or imprisonment for 12 months.

The offence is contained in s546C of the Crimes Act 1900.

What actions might constitute resisting police?

Common examples of this offence include:

  • Running away from police who are trying to arrest you;
  • Struggling with police who are trying to handcuff you after placing you under arrest;
  • Continually blocking access through a doorway or laneway to prevent police from searching it;
  • Lying to police;
  • Encouraging or egging on a mate to throw something at police; or
  • Telling someone to run away from Police who are trying to arrest them.

What the police must prove

To convict a person of resisting police, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The accused either,
    • Resisted or hindered police; OR
    • Encouraged someone else to resist, hinder or assault police;
  • The person was a police officer in the NSW Police Force; and
  • The police officer was carrying out their duties as a police officer at that time.

Possible defences to resisting police

A person may defend a charge of resisting police by arguing:

  • To argue that the person was not a police officer in the NSW Police Force;
  • To argue that they were not working at the time, or that what they did was outside their duties as a police officer;
  • To argue that police were acting illegally; or

Which court will hear your matter

The offence is a summary offence and can only be finalised in the Local Court

Will I get a criminal record?

A criminal conviction is very likely unless the court is convinced that they should exercise their discretion not to convict you of the offence.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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