It’s a lot easier than you would think to be charged with resisting arrest in Arizona. You don’t even have to use physical force to get charged. Making your body go limp or stiffening your body when police are trying to arrest you can result in a charge of resisting arrest. Also, in Arizona, you can be found guilty of resisting arrest even if your arrest was not legally justified by the police.
However, you must make sure that you have not been overcharged for resisting arrest when all you have done is argued or criticized the police. Also, the police often wrongfully escalate situations and use excessive force to arrest people, even when making legal arrests. The police are not allowed to use excessive force when making arrests. So, you may have been justified in using force to resist arrest if excessive force was used against you.
Under ARS 13-2508, there are three ways that a resisting arrest charge can be committed in Arizona:
Even if multiple officers were involved in trying to arrest you, you can only be charged with one count of resisting arrest. But, currently, Arizona law allows all of the officers whom you resisted to be designated victims of your single charge of resisting arrest. This means that the officers can refuse to be interviewed before trial because of their rights as victims.
A felony resist arrest charge pursuant to ARS 13-2508, requires the prosecution prove that:
Using or threatening to use physical force. You can be convicted of resisting arrest when you use or threaten to use physical force against peace officers trying to arrest you even if the officers were not injured or not at risk of injury. So, even “minor scuffling” can be considered resisting arrest when you use physical force.
Substantial risk of causing physical injury. If you did not use or threaten to use physical force, then there has to be a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the officer (or another person who is present) for your actions to be considered resisting arrest. Substantial risk of physical injury does not mean substantial danger to the officer. It only means substantial risk of impairment of a physical condition.
In 2012, Arizona added passive resistance to ARS 13-2508 and added another way a person can be charged with resisting arrest. It is classified as a less serious misdemeanor offense because passive resistance does not involve any use of force against or any risk of injury to peace officers.
Misdemeanor resisting arrest requires the prosecution prove that:
Passive resistance. This means a nonviolent physical act or failure to act that is intended to impede, hinder, or delay the effecting of an arrest.
Examples of passive resistance include:
Felony resisting arrest is a Class 6 Felony. If you have no prior felony convictions, then your resisting arrest sentence could be:
Misdemeanor resisting arrest or passive resistance is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. If convicted, you could be sentenced to:
The best way to get a resisting arrest charge dropped is to show the prosecutor or judge that the officer used excessive force. This negotiating tactic should be used carefully as giving over defense evidence at the wrong time may allow the prosecution to fix any problem they have with their case – contact an experienced criminal defense attorney beforehand. Other possible defenses include:
It’s important to have an experienced and skilled resisting arrest lawyer on your side when faced with a resisting arrest charge. You need to ensure that your charge of resisting arrest was not made because an officer needed to justify his use of force against you. These situations often turn into your word against the word of the police officer. In these cases, it is absolutely necessary to have an experience resisting arrest lawyer to undermine the credibility of the officer and ensure the best defense possible. Contact the criminal defense attorneys at Feldman & Royle for a free consultation to discuss your case today.
The best way to get a resisting arrest charge dropped is to show the prosecutor or judge that the officer used excessive force. Evidence of excessive force can be obtained by photographs, police bodycameras, other witnesses and defense interviews. However, the specific time in the case to disclose this information is crucial as the prosecution could use this opportunity to fix the issue. Consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer beforehand.
In Arizona, resisting arrest can occur under three circumstances: 1) Using or threatening physical force against an officer; 2) Creating a substantial risk of causing physical injury to an officer; or 3) Using any manner of passive resistance during arrest.
Resisting arrest can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Pursuant to ARS 13-2508, if physical force is used or threatened against an officer, or if your resistance created a substantial risk of causing physical injury to an officer, then resisting arrest is a Class 6 Felony. But if you passively resisted by using nonviolent physical acts or otherwise failed to cooperate with the police to prevent your arrest, then the resisting arrest is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
You are not allowed to resist an unlawful arrest, unless the peace officer used excessive force against you. An officer’s excessive use of force is a defense to the charge for both lawful and unlawful arrests.