Statute ARS 13-2508, Resisting Arrest,is defined as: “intentionally preventing or attempting to prevent a person reasonably known to him to be a peace officer, acting under color of such peace officer's official authority, from effecting an arrest”. Basically, if you get in the way, actively or passively, of an arresting officer, you can be charged with Resisting Arrest in Arizona. 

What constitutes Resisting Arrest?

There are several different ways that you can resist the officer, including using or threatening force, doing anything that could cause the officer (or any other person) to be injured, or even using passive resistance. Under Arizona’s broad definition of Resisting Arrest, all of the following activities can be considered grounds to be charged under ARS 13-2508: 

  • Refusing to submit to handcuffing by the officer. For example, stiffening your arms, or having your body go limp.

  • Fleeing the scene by running away from the officer.

  • Forcing the officer to take you to the ground.

  • Taking a fighting stance. If you actually fight the officer you could also be charged with Aggravated Assault 

Resisting ArrestHowever, you had to have known the person trying to stop you was in fact a police officer, and he or she was working in official capacity when the arrest was attempted. It does not matter, under Arizona law, if the arrest was justified or not.

What is the punishment for Resisting Arrest?

Resisting Arrest Leads to Jail TimeResisting Arrest is not treated lightly, especially in Arizona. Active resistance is generally considered a class 6 felony, and penalties for this can include jail or prison time, fines, and probation.  Passive resistance is a misdemeanor offense in Arizona, which still carries up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $2500. 

What should you do if you are charged with resisting arrest in Arizona?

The Arizona statute about Resisting Arrest is pretty vague, but this can sometimes work in your favor. The most important thing you can do when charged with Resisting Arrest in conjunction with other crimes is to get an attorney who knows the laws on your side.

Contact Burges McCowan, Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney, for a free consultation.