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Home » Crimes Against Justice Lawyer  » Resisting Arrest Lawyer

California Resisting Arrest Attorney — Penal Code 148 PC

Do You Need To Hire An Attorney For A Resisting Arrest Charge?

If you are charged with resisting arrest in California, then you will want to contact a criminal defense lawyer at My Rights Law right away. When you hire a crime against justice lawyer from My Rights Law, you get a firm with a track record of success in resisting arrest cases like yours. We will carefully review the accusations against you and work hard to defend you. Get started by calling My Rights Law at (888) 702-8882 or leaving a message on our secure web form to set up a free consultation.

How Does California Define Resisting Arrest?

California law criminalizes any resistance or obstruction that interferes with certain people performing their official duties. This is the law of resisting arrest, found at Penal Code 148.

Penal Code 148 defines resisting arrest as willfully resisting, delaying, or obstructing a peace officer or an emergency medical technician (EMT) from performing their official duties.[1]

There are several elements to this crime:

  • The defendant acted willfully to delay, obstruct, or resist
  • The defendant delayed, obstructed, or resisted a peace officer or EMT who was performing official duties
  • The defendant knew the officer or EMT was performing official duties

A prosecutor must prove all three elements to get a conviction.

What Are Some Resisting Arrest Examples?

Some of the more common examples of resisting arrest include:

  • A person fighting with police officers who are trying to put handcuffs on them.
  • A person running on foot to avoid the police.
  • A parent releasing a dog to harass the police officers who are trying to arrest a child.
  • A person who obstructs the ability of EMTs to help someone at the scene of a crash.
  • A person lying to the police about where a suspect ran off to.
  • Jamming the phones or radios of police officers who are surveilling a neighborhood.

In each of these examples, the defendant has done something which makes it harder for police or EMTs to do their jobs.

What Are The Penalties For Resisting Arrest In California?

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor offense in California.[2] If convicted, a defendant faces up to a year in county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. These penalties are in addition to any penalties a defendant might face for the crime they were stopped for.

Incarceration isn’t inevitable, however. Some judges might give a defendant probation instead. Also, some counties do not usually bring resisting arrest charges unless specific factors are present, like physical violence.

Can You Defend Against California Resisting Arrest Charges?

Yes. Each case is a little different, so our lawyers will delve into the facts of your case before settling on a defense. However, there are some common defenses we have raised over the years to these charges:

Mistaken Identity

You might not have been the person resisting arrest. Sometimes, police chases or accident scenes are chaotic. The police might have mistakenly believed you were the one interfering with their official duties when it was really someone else.

Lack of Intent

The law requires that you “willfully” resist, obstruct, or delay.[3] Some actions are not willful in this sense:

  • You might have an epileptic fit, which prevents the police from applying handcuffs.
  • You might pass out, which makes it harder for the police to make an arrest.
  • Your car could have broken down, which makes it impossible to move it out of the way for EMTs.
  • You didn’t know you told a lie to the police which hindered an investigation or arrest.

Remember that simple mistakes do not rise to the level of willful obstruction or resistance.

No Probable Cause For An Arrest Or Stop

Under the Fourth Amendment, a law enforcement officer must have probable cause to make an arrest.[4] If they don’t, your arrest was illegal.

Here’s an example: police racially profile a person and stop him only for that reason. When they try to reach into his backpack, the man pulls away. Because the police lack probable cause, the defendant cannot face resisting arrest charges.

Can I Face Other Charges For Resisting Arrest?

Yes, depending on the facts. In addition to charges under 148 PC, you might be charged with:

  • Assault—PC 240. This is a misdemeanor offense that can result in up to six months in jail.
  • Battery on a peace officer—PC 243. This is a misdemeanor that can result in a year in jail.
  • Resisting an executive officer—PC 69. This is either a misdemeanor or felony. A felony conviction can send you to prison for up to three years.[5]

Seasoned California Resisting Arrest Lawyer

If you are accused of resisting arrest, you should hire an experienced California criminal defense attorney at My Rights Law to represent you. The state can put you in jail simply for obstructing or delaying any police officer or emergency medical technician who is trying to do their job. Because the stakes are so high, you are at a disadvantage if you don’t have a seasoned legal pro in your corner. My Rights Law is here for you. Contact us by calling (888) 702-8882 or by filling out our secure web form to schedule a free consultation.

Other crimes against justice we defend include: Parole Violation, Evading Arrest

[1] California Penal Code 148 PC.
[2] California Penal Code 148 PC.
[3] See 148 PC (“Every person who willfully resists, delays….”).
[4] U.S. Constitution, Amendment IV.
[5] California Penal Code 69 PC.

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