What Happens After Resisting Arrest In Arizona?

Safeguarding Your Rights After Resisting Arrest Charges & Seeking Legal Defense In Arizona

Being arrested can be a stressful experience that leaves you feeling worried, vulnerable, and unsure about your future. Many people are tempted to resist the arrest to protect themselves. However, resisting arrest is a crime in Arizona and can result in serious consequences. If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest in Arizona, you need guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately who can provide legal guidance and representation while negotiating on your behalf and protecting your rights.

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Definitions, Examples & Categorizing Resisting Arrest In Arizona

A.R.S. § 13-2508 defines resisting arrest as “A person commits resisting arrest by intentionally preventing or attempting to prevent a person reasonably known to him to be a peace officer… from effecting an arrest” by any of multiple means:

  • Use or threat of physical force
  • Another means of creating a substantial risk of physical injury
  • Passive resistance, which means a “nonviolent physical act or failure to act that is intended to impede, hinder, or delay” the arrest

This statute is broad and somewhat vague, which can work in your favor because it leaves room for interpretation by a jury and a defense from your criminal defense lawyer

Some examples of resisting arrest include:

  • Threatening to pull a gun or knife
  • Refusing to get out of your vehicle
  • Refusing to put your hands behind your back
  • Pulling away or stepping away from the officer
  • Failure to follow instructions regarding your arms or legs

Resisting arrest may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the situation.

What Is Needed To Charge An Individual With Resisting Arrest?

To charge someone with resisting arrest, the prosecutor must prove three elements:

  1. The law enforcement officer was arresting the defendant legally and officially
  2. The defendant had reason to know that they were being arrested
  3. The defendant intentionally tried to prevent their arrest

How Can An Attorney Defend Me Against Resisting Arrest Charges?

Because of the broad and vague language of the state statute, there is room for interpretation by a judge or jury as well as room for your criminal defense attorney to build a strong defense on your behalf. Your attorney may be able to contest charges by providing evidence that the circumstances of your arrest were unclear and that you did not realize what was happening. In other cases, being able to argue that a defendant’s actions were passive rather than active can result in a reduced sentence or penalties. The charges may be dismissed if your attorney can prove that the arrest was unlawful. Consult with your attorney about the best way to defend yourself in your specific situation.

The Parameters Of Legal Arrests & Unlawful Arrest Defenses

Arizona law allows individuals to resist arrest if it is unlawful, which means that the arrest does not meet the requirements of a legal arrest. To legally arrest someone, a law enforcement officer must meet several criteria:

  • The officer must have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person who is being arrested committed the crime. Alternatively, the officer must have a warrant for arrest.
  • The officers must identify themselves as a law enforcement officer or be wearing their uniform.
  • The arrest must be made in a public place where a person would not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • Only reasonable force must be made to effect the arrest

All of these elements must be present for an arrest to be illegal. However, citizens should note that they can still be criminally charged with resisting arrest even if the arrest was unlawful. In that case, the defendant must work with an unlawful arrest defense attorney to prove what happened and that they are innocent. In some cases, it may not be worth the risk of resisting an unlawful arrest. 

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Charged With Resisting Arrest In Arizona?

If you believe you were unlawfully arrested or have been charged with resisting arrest, don’t delay. Get legal counsel from a trusted criminal defense lawyer who can guide you through your legal options and help you understand your rights. In particular, the vague language in the state statutes leave room for defense, argument, and interpretation. Having a skilled attorney on your side can make the difference in whether the law is interpreted in your favor or against you.

Looking For Legal Guidance After Resisting Arrest Charges? Call a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney Today!

AZ Criminal Defense is a leading criminal defense attorney in Chandler who is dedicated to protecting your rights, helping you understand your legal options, and maximizing your chances of a positive outcome after charges of resisting arrest. We will work on your behalf to build a strong defense and are prepared to fight for your rights in court. Schedule your free, confidential consultation with one of our skilled criminal defense attorneys today to discuss your case and learn about your options! Contact us!

Published On: November 5th, 2023Categories: Criminal Defense