Resisting Arrest

The lawyers at Ashbach Law Offices, LLC provide aggressive, strong defense for those charged with Resisting Arrest allegations throughout Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Our goal is to aggressively protect you, your family and your interests from the prosecution, saving jail time, licenses, occupations and reputations. With offices in Marysville and Mill Creek, Washington, we are available to meet you discuss your case. We help good people in bad situations. Let us help you.
Resisting Arrest in General
Resisting Arrest is the alleged, intentional prevention, or attempt to prevent, a peace officer from lawfully arresting the person. Often this allegedly involves force, which can escalate a Resisting Arrest offense to a Third Degree Assault (assault on a law enforcement officer).

Resisting Arrest is punishable as a Simple Misdemeanor, with a maximum possible punishment of 90 days in jail and/or a $1000 fine.

The person being charged does not have to actually prevent an arrest from occurring. Simply intentionally attempting to prevent a lawful arrest is sufficient.

A “peace officer” is any duly appointed city, county or state law enforcement officer. “Peace officer” may include off-duty officers in some situations.

Lawful Arrest Required
In general, an officer has authority to arrest an individual only pursuant to a warrant, or when the officer has probable cause to believe an offense has been committed. For some allegations, the crime needs to have been committed in the officer’s presence.

Resisting an illegal arrest is permissible if the person being arrested faces actual and imminent danger of serious injury. The force used in resisting arrest must be reasonable and proportional the danger sought to be prevented.

It is not permissible to use force to prevent an arrest that only threatens freedom. The real threat of imminent serious injury is required.

Whether or not the underlying allegation for the arrest is proven at court is irrelevant. What matters is whether probable cause (a lesser standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt”) existed at the time of the arrest.


Some municipalities have enacted their own Resisting Arrest laws, like Everett (10.12.100), Mount Vernon (9.04.025), Seattle (12A.16.050). Monroe (9.14.040) has a crime called “Resisting public officers.”

 Others have simply adopted the State RCW, like Arlington, Bellingham, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, and Shoreline.

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.