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Resisting Arrest. Know your rights!


Can you be convicted of Resisting Law Enforcement by fleeing if you fail to stop when ordered by the police? In Indiana, the answer depends on the amount of evidence the police officer has that you may have been involved in criminal activity.

In Gaddie v. State, the Indiana Supreme Court determined that absent proof that an officer’s order to stop rests on probable cause or specific, articulable facts that would lead the officer to reasonably suspect that criminal activity was afoot, the evidence will be insufficient to establish the offense of resisting law enforcement. In Gaddie v. State, a police officer was dispatched to a disturbance at a residence. When he arrived, he saw several people standing on the front porch and in the front yard screaming and yelling. The officer also saw Gaddie and several others walking along a side yard toward the back of the house. The officer told the group to return to the front yard. Everyone but Gaddie complied. The officer identified himself as a police officer and told Gaddie to stop. Gaddie continued walking toward an alley, and the officer followed him and repeated his order to stop. Gaddie looked back at the officer two or three times but continued walking. The officer, who had not seen Gaddie commit a crime before ordering him to stop, radioed for help, and another officer stopped Gaddie at the next street over.

The Indiana Supreme Court reversed Gaddie’s conviction. The Court held that there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction because the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to believe that criminal activity had occurred or was afoot. Specifically, the Court explained that the officer was dispatched to a disturbance and had not seen the defendant committing a crime before ordering him to stop. The report of a disturbance, without more, is not a sufficient basis upon which to conduct an investigatory stop. Further, refusal to cooperate, without more, does not furnish the minimal level of justification needed for a detention or seizure.

If you find yourself having been arrested, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer such as Steven Knecht to help you fight the State.

Filed to Ask a Lawyer, Criminal Defense

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