Resisting Arrest
(Colorado 18-8-103 C.R.S.)

man lying on ground handcuffed by police

The Colorado crime of resisting arrest

Section 18-8-103 of the Colorado Revised Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to resist arrest.

18-8-103 (1) C.R.S. provides:

A person commits resisting arrest if he knowingly prevents or attempts to prevent a peace officer, acting under color of his official authority, from effecting an arrest of the actor or another, by:

  • (a) Using or threatening to use physical force or violence against the peace officer or another; or
  • (b) Using any other means which creates a substantial risk of causing bodily injury to the peace officer or another.

A “peace officer” means a peace officer in uniform or, if out of uniform, one who has identified himself by exhibiting his credentials as such peace officer to the person whose arrest is attempted.

A peace officer acts “under color of his official authority” when, in the regular course of assigned duties, he is called upon to make, and does make, a judgment in good faith based upon surrounding facts and circumstances that an arrest should be made by him.

What if the arrest was unlawful?

It is not a defense that the arrest you were resisting was unlawful.1 If you are place under unlawful arrest, you must cooperate with the police and object later. The only times you may legally resist arrest are when:

  • The officer is not engaged in his official capacity (for instance, if he is off-duty and working as a private security guard) and a private person would have no authority to arrest you;2
  • You are acting in self-defense or defense of another; or
  • The officer is using excessive force.3

Colorado penalties for unlawfully resisting arrest

Resisting arrest is a Colorado class 2 misdemeanor. In addition to punishment for any underlying crime, consequences of resisting arrest can include:

  • 3-12 months in jail, and/or
  • A fine of $250-$1,000.

Call us for help…

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If you or someone you know is facing punishment for resisting arrest, we invite you to contact our caring Colorado criminal defense lawyers for a free consultation.

Our Colorado criminal lawyers know that anything can happen during an encounter with the police. And the police will not always accurately report how an encounter went down.

That's why we use every possible means to discover what really happened during an arrest or an attempted arrest. We'll interview witnesses and, if necessary, use investigators and experts to show that the police, not you, acted improperly.

We can be reached through the confidential form on this page, or by phone at our conveniently located Denver home office.

Your information will be held in the strictest confidence and one of our experienced Colorado defense lawyers will get back to you promptly to begin helping you plan your best defense to your Colorado resisting arrest or resisting a peace officer charges.

Our home office is located at:

Colorado Legal Defense Group
1400 16th Street
16 Market Square
Denver CO 80202
720-955-6112


Legal resources:

  1. People v. Hess, 1984, 687 P.2d 443.
  2. People in Interest of J.J.C., App.1992, 835 P.2d 553, certiorari granted, affirmed 854 P.2d 801.
  3. McDaniel v. People, 1972, 499 P.2d 613, 179 Colo. 153, certiorari denied 93 S.Ct. 558, 409 U.S. 1060, 34 L.Ed.2d 512; People v. Fuller, App.1987, 756 P.2d 390, affirmed in part, reversed in part 781 P.2d 647.

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