Resisting Arrest

If you live in Phoenix or other city in Arizona, including Scottsdale, Chandler, and Peoria, and have been charged with resisting arrest, we can help. According to A.R.S. 13-2508, resisting arrest encompasses a number of different interactions with a law enforcement officer or officers.

What Is Resisting Arrest?

Resisting arrest means intentionally preventing or trying to prevent a person known to him or her to be a law enforcement official from effecting an arrest. The accused may do so by using physical force against another person or against the officer, or enacting another means of creating a risk of physical injury to the officer or to another party.

Assaulting an officer can mean anything as minor as pushing an officer away or attempting to swat at an officer’s hands, resulting in a felony charge. Resisting arrest can also mean engaging in “passive resistance,” which can include actions like pulling away from the officer. According to A.R.S 13-2508-C, any nonviolent physical act or failure to act intended to hinder, delay, or impede arrest is classified as passive resistance.

Misdemeanors and Felonies

Different types of resisting arrest result in different charges. Passive resistance is a class 1 misdemeanor. This is the most serious type of misdemeanor offense, and may be punished by up to 6 months in jail, 3 years of probation, and a fine of up to $2,500.

On the other hand, threatening an officer with physical force or creating a substantial risk of injury for any party involved is tantamount to a class 6 felony. This is the lowest ranking felony offense. For a first time offender, a class 6 felony can result in up to 1 year in prison. Repeat offenses can result in more time in prison, more years of probation, and higher fines.

According to Arizona Criminal Code Title 13, however, many courts waver between a class 6 felony and a class 1 misdemeanor. If the class 6 felony offense doesn’t justify a harsh sentence, a court may decide to judge for conviction of a class 1 misdemeanor. This decision is based entirely on a combination of the nature of the crime and the character and history of the defendant.

An Arizona Criminal Attorney

Because a charge of resisting arrest requires a defendant to show intent of preventing the officer from effecting arrest, it is a relatively simple charge to defend. For example, if the defendant being arrested is not aware of the presence of a law enforcement officer or is under the impression that the officer is acting outside his or her authority, an accusation of resisting arrest may not be applicable.

If you react to a surprise arrest by pulling away because the officer has not properly identified him or herself or has not stated he or she is arresting you, there are no grounds to accuse you of resisting arrest. Similarly, if you react with any confusion or questions and an officer believes you are not in complete compliance, you may also be charged with resisting arrest.

If you are charged with resisting arrest or are arrested for any other reason in Arizona, a criminal law attorney can help. Contact the Law Offices of Scott David Stewart today to schedule a Free consultation with attorney Scott Stewart who knows how to navigate all sides of the confusing legal system in our state.