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Arizona Resisting Arrest Laws

When someone is being arrested by the police, it's important that they exercise caution and follow the instructions of the police officer because any form of resistance can constitute a crime. In Arizona, a person can actively or passively resist arrest. An example of passively resisting arrest is refusing to follow the directions of a police officer, like not putting your hands up when the officer tells you to do so.

An Overview of Arizona Resisting Arrest Laws

Reading the actual statute should always be a part of researching the law. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a daunting task since statutes are written in "legalese," which can take time to interpret and understand. That's why reading an overview of the statute free of legal jargon can be a huge help in better understanding the law. In the following chart, you can find an overview of Arizona resisting arrest laws and links to the relevant statutes.


Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13, Chapter 25, Section 13-2508 (Resisting Arrest)

Definition of Resisting Arrest

A person commits the crime of resisting arrest if they prevent a peace officer from making an arrest by:

  • using or threatening to use force against the peace officer;
  • using any other means creating substantial risk of injury to the peace officer or another;
  • or engaging in passive resistance*.

*Passive resistance is defined as a nonviolent physical act or failure to act that's intended to impede, hinder or delay the making of an arrest.

Charges and Penalties

Resisting arrest is generally a Class 6 felony punishable by imprisonment between six months to 18 months, while passive resistance is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to six months.

Related Statute(s)

Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13, Chapter 25, Section 13-2501, et seq. (Escape and Related Offenses)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Potential Defenses to Resisting Arrest

There are various defenses to a charge of resisting arrest. For example, one defense could be that the defendant didn't intend to resist arrest or that the defendant was using self-defense in response to excessive or unreasonable police force. A defendant may also be able to defend against resisting arrest charges by proving that there was no arrest or by proving that the defendant was unaware that the person making the arrest was a peace officer or police officer.

Arizona Resisting Arrest Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like more information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links below.

Learn More About Arizona Resisting Arrest Laws from an Attorney

As you can see, resisting arrest can carry serious criminal penalties. However, as also discussed above, there are many defenses that could be raised due to the broad language of the statute. If you want to learn more about the penalties or defenses associated with resisting arrest in Arizona, you should contact a criminal defense attorney near you.

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