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Resisting Arrest

Encounters with law enforcement can be extremely frightening and confusing moments for most people. If a person allegedly offers any kind of resistance while being placed under arrest for an alleged criminal offense, that individual can additional criminal charges as well as possible enhanced penalties for the underlying crime.

Police officers, prosecutors, and judges all tend to have extremely unfavorable views of alleged offenders who are accused of interfering with authorities performing their lawful duties. It is important to understand that police officers may sometimes exaggerate or even completely fabricate the actions an alleged offender took in order to charge that person with resisting arrest.

Lawyer for Resisting Arrest Defense in Tempe, AZ

Have you been charged with allegedly resisting arrest in Maricopa County? It will be critical for you to immediately contact the Law Office of James E. Novak for help achieving the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible penalties.

Tempe criminal defense attorney James E. Novak understands the most effective ways to handle these cases as a former prosecutor, and he represents clients in Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, and many surrounding communities in Maricopa County. Call (480) 413-1499 right now to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will let our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions.


Overview of Resisting Arrest in Maricopa County


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Resisting Arrest Charges in Arizona

Under Arizona Revised Statute § 13-2508, a person commits resisting arrest by intentionally preventing or attempting to prevent a person reasonably known to him or her to be a peace officer, acting under color of such peace officer's official authority, from making an arrest. How such an offense is classified depends on the manner in which the alleged offender resisted arrest.

Resisting arrest is a class 1 misdemeanor if an alleged offender resists an arrest by engaging in passive resistance. Passive resistance is defined for the purposes of this statute as “a nonviolent physical act or failure to act that is intended to impede, hinder or delay the effecting of an arrest.”

Resisting arrest, however, becomes a class 6 felony if an alleged offender uses or threatens to use physical force against the peace officer or another person, or uses any other means creating a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the peace officer or another person. A few of the most common scenarios that lead to people being charged with this crime include, but are not limited to:

  • Refusing to submit to handcuffing;
  • Fleeing the scene, whether by refusing to comply with a traffic stop or running away by foot; or
  • Taking a fighting stance against the officer.

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Resisting Arrest Penalties in Tempe

The possible sentence an alleged offender can receive if convicted of resisting arrest depends on the grade of the alleged offense. Convictions may be punishable as follows:

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor — Up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500; or
  • Class 6 Felony — Up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $150,000.

It is critical to remember that resisting arrest charges are often filed in conjunction with the criminal charges for underlying offenses. People can be charged with resisting arrest even if the arrest was not legally justified.

Furthermore, alleged offenders who actually attempt to physically fight police officers can be charged with aggravated assault, which is at least a class 5 felony. If the officer sustains any kind of physical injury, the offense becomes a class 4 felony.


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Arizona Resisting Arrest Resources

Know Your Rights | ACLU of Arizona — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is responsible for public education programs and litigation in defense of civil liberties. On this section of the ACLU of Arizona’s website, you can learn more about your rights during various kinds of police encounters. You can also find a “Know Your Rights card” that features information on dealing with law enforcement.

How to Flex Your Rights During Police Encounters — Flex Your Rights is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit civil liberties organization that creates and distributes what it refers to as “the most compelling, trustworthy, and practical know-your-rights media content in the universe.” On this website you can find answers to frequently asked questions about police encounters during traffic stops and at your door as well as popular myths and general questions. You can also read recent blog posts from Flex Your Rights concerning criminal justice issues.


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[[$firm]] | Tempe Resisting Arrest Attorney

If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Maricopa County, it is in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. You will want to contact the Law Office of James E. Novak for help possibly getting the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

James E. Novak is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tempe who represents clients all over Maricopa County, including Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and several other nearby communities. He can provide a full evaluation of your case when you call (480) 413-1499 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.


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