Resisting Arrest

ORANGE COUNTY RESISTING ARREST ATTORNEY California Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) codifies California law on resisting arrest. Section 148 penalizes resisting, obstructing, or otherwise delaying an officer or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in performing their duties.

What is resisting arrest in California?

An individual may be charged with resisting arrest under Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) if they (1) willfully obstructed, resisted, or delayed a police officer or EMT, (2) while the officer or EMT were performing their duties, (3) when they should have reasonably known that the person was an officer or EMT engaged in their duties.

California courts have found that individuals giving false identification or refusing to identify themselves during the booking process are guilty of resisting arrest under Section 148.

What are the penalties if convicted of resisting arrest?

The penalties for a conviction of resisting arrest under Section 148(a)(1) are

  • a fine of up to $1,000,
  • up to one year in county jail, or
  • both.

What are the defenses to California resisting arrest?

There are several defenses that can be raised for charges of resisting arrest depending on the specific facts of each case.

  • Self-defense
    An individual is allowed to defend him or herself against an unlawful arrest. However, under California’s self-defense laws, the individual defending him or herself must act in a way that is reasonable under the circumstances. For example, if an officer has an individual subdued and in handcuffs and starts beating her, she is allowed to use as much force as reasonably necessary to fend the officer off.
  • Unlawful arrest
    If the arrest procedure is in any way unlawful, an individual cannot be charged with resisting arrest, because officers are not engaged in one of their duties. For example, if police break into a suspect’s house without a warrant and put the individual in handcuffs, the arrest is unlawful and the individual cannot be charged with a violation of Section 148 if he resists.
  • Police misconduct
    An officer engages in misconduct when they routinely use excessive force, perform illegal arrests, enhance or make up charges, etc. All of this will be recorded in the officer’s personnel file. If an officer is suspected of having engaged in some kind of misconduct, a defense attorney can file a “Pitchess motion” which requests this information in the officer’s personnel file to help prove a case of police misconduct.
  • False allegations
    Many police officers may try to seek revenge on an individual by trumping up charges of resisting arrest when an individual may have simply been dismissive or uncooperative. California courts have found that, standing alone, slowly complying with an officer’s request; criticizing or swearing at an officer (as long as not using fighting words); or refusing to give identification in a police car on the way to jail is not sufficient for a conviction under Section 148.

Orange County Resisting Arrest Defense at the Johnson Criminal Law Group

Our criminal defense attorney at the Johnson Criminal Law Group will provide you with experienced legal defense for resisting arrest charges. If facing possible charges it is important to get in touch with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. We can be reached by phone at 949-622-5522 or you can send us a message online today.

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