A person may be charged with resisting arrest if they refuse to allow someone with authority to arrest them. The law applies to both situations where a person violently resists and those where a person is not violent in their resistance.
Nonviolent, or passive, resistance is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Where a person uses or threatens to use physical force against an officer, or places an officer or others at risk of physical injury (i.e. a wild police chase on the highway), it is a class 6 felony. A class 6 felony is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000. Resisting arrest can often be a far more serious offense than the offense an individual is being arrested for. In Arizona, depending on how arrest is resisted can incur a class 6 felony or a class 1 misdemeanor charge. You will be charged with a class 6 felony if you resist arrest using threatening or physical force, or alternatively any other method which could pose elevated risk to the arresting officer or members of the public. A class 6 felony, while being the least serious of the felony classes still incurs a custodial sentence of up to two years, and/or a fine of up to $150,000.
The only instance in which you will be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor and not a class 6 felony, is if your resistance is deemed as ‘passive’, this will typically refer to a resistance that is non-threatening or non-physical. If sentenced for a crime that is a class 1 misdemeanor, you can face jail time of up to six months, or a fine of up to $2,500.