You are guilty of resisting arrest in Washington if you intentionally prevent an officer from arresting you. The crime is a serious misdemeanor that can result in possible jail time or an expensive fine. Please do yourself a favor and contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you are facing a resisting arrest charge.

What is Resisting Arrest Under Washington Law?

RCW 9A.76.040 is the Washington statute that sets for the crime of resisting arrest. Per this law, you commit an offense if you intentionally prevent, or attempt to prevent, an officer from arresting you.

Consider, for example, the scenario where a police officer catches you trespassing on someone’s property. He sees you from afar and yells for you to stop. You start to run to try and escape. However, the officer catches you and then places you under arrest.

Here, you are guilty of resisting arrest since you tried to escape from the officer and avoid an arrest.

Please note that you are still guilty of resisting arrest if you were not successful in avoiding an arrest. The mere act of trying to prevent an arrest is what triggers this crime.

What are the Penalties?

Resisting arrest is charged as a misdemeanor offense under Washington law. A conviction of the crime is punishable by:

  • Imprisonment for up to 90 days in jail, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $1,000.

Note that a misdemeanor is a less severe offense than a gross misdemeanor. A gross misdemeanor is punishable by:

  • Imprisonment for up to one year, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $5,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. You have the right to challenge a resisting arrest charge with a legal defense. Recall that you are only guilty of this crime if you acted intentionally. A defense, therefore, is to show that you did not intentionally try to prevent an arrest. Maybe, for instance, you interfered with an arrest on accident.

Your criminal defense lawyer can also contest a charge by showing that the authorities violated a constitutional right. Perhaps, for instance, a police officer stopped you without probable cause. Here, a judge could reduce your charge or dismiss it altogether.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a resisting arrest charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various misdemeanor charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!