Arizona Resisting Arrest Laws

When someone is being arrested by the police, caution should be exercised because any resistance to the arrest can constitute a crime. In Arizona, resisting arrest is defined in one of three ways:

  • Using or threatening physical force against a peace officer to prevent an arrest
  • Creating a substantial risk of physical injury to the peace officer or anyone else to prevent an arrest
  • Passively resisting arrest

Passively resisting arrest or passive resistance is committing a nonviolent physical act, or failure to act, that is intended to impede, hinder or delay the making of an arrest. For example, if one refuses to follow the directions of a police officer such as putting their hands up, turning around or getting out of a vehicle, that action may count as passive resistance.

Arizona Resisting Arrest Laws at a Glance

The penalties for resisting arrest in Arizona are covered in the below table.



Resisting Arrest

A person commits the crime of resisting arrest if they prevent a peace officer from making an arrest by: (1) using or threatening to use force against the peace officer or (2) using any other means creating substantial risk of injury to the peace officer or another. The penalties for resisiting arrest are:

  • Class 6 felony
  • Punishable by a minimum sentence of 2 years, a maximum sentence of 5.75 years

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-2508

Passively Resisting Arrest

A person commits passive resistance by performing a nonviolent physical act or failure to act that is intended to impede, hinder or delay the making of an arrest.

  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Punishable by a maximum of 180 days in prison
  • Punishable by a maximum of 3 years of probation

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-2508

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

There are various defenses to resisting arrest, including not possessing the intent to resist arrest, using self-defense in response to excessive or unreasonable police force, proving that there was no arrest and proving that the defendant was unaware that the person making the arrest was a peace officer or police officer.

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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 may be 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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