Understanding Resisting Arrest Laws in Arizona

Investigative Article

The Truth About Resisting Arrest Laws in Arizona

Resisting arrest is a serious offense that can lead to significant legal consequences. In Arizona, the laws regarding resisting arrest are complex and vary depending on the circumstances. Understanding the nuances of these laws is essential for anyone who wants to avoid being charged with resisting arrest.

The Classifications of Resisting Arrest

In Arizona, the penalties for resisting arrest vary depending on the severity of the offense. Resisting arrest is classified under various levels, such as a class 6 felony for actions that pose a substantial risk or involve physical force against an officer trying to make an arrest. However, not every act or failure to act in the face of an arrest will lead to felony charges. Nonviolent resistance, which could result in a misdemeanor charge but still carry significant penalties, such as up to 3 years of probation. The prosecutor will take into account various factors, including the severity of the crime, the individual's criminal history, and whether or not they caused bodily harm to the officer in question, to determine the appropriate classification of the offense.

The Defenses Available for Resisting Arrest Charges

Defending against a resisting arrest charge can be challenging, but individuals have several potential defenses available. If the arrest was unlawful, for example, if the officer lacked probable cause for the arrest, the individual can argue that they had the right to resist. Similarly, if the officer used excessive force during the arrest, the individual can argue that they were acting in self-defense. Individuals can also claim that they did not intentionally resist but were instead acting out of confusion or a lack of understanding about what was happening. It's important to note that these defenses may not always be successful.

The Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Arizona

The penalties for resisting arrest in Arizona can be severe, so it's essential to take these charges seriously. Felony charges can lead to prison sentences, fines, and other legal consequences. Individuals convicted of a class 6 felony can face up to two years in prison, as well as fines of up to $150,000. Class 1 misdemeanor charges can also result in significant penalties, including up to 6 months in jail and $2,500 in fines. It's crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help individuals understand the potential consequences of their charges and mount a robust defense.

The Importance of Experienced Legal Representation

Resisting arrest charges can be complex and challenging to defend against, which is why it's so important to seek experienced legal representation. A skilled criminal defense attorney can review the evidence against the individual and work to develop a robust defense strategy aimed at mitigating the potential legal consequences. An attorney can also help individuals understand their rights and options and work to secure the best possible outcome for their case.

How to Avoid Resisting Arrest

The best way to avoid being charged with resisting arrest is to comply with the officer's orders during an arrest. Individuals can also proactively avoid putting themselves in situations that could lead to arrests, such as not engaging in criminal activity and avoiding confrontations with law enforcement. Finally, it's essential to always treat law enforcement officers with respect and avoid engaging in behavior that could lead to increased tensions or escalated situations.


Resisting arrest charges can have significant legal consequences and should be taken seriously. Understanding the nuance of these laws and working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential for anyone facing these charges. If you or someone you know is facing resisting arrest charges in Arizona, it's crucial to seek legal representation.

Resisting Arrest Laws in Arizona