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California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC: Resisting Arrest

By Spodek Law Group | May 12, 2018
(Last Updated On: June 2, 2023)

Last Updated on: 2nd June 2023, 05:31 pm

In the state of California, Penal Code 148(a)(1) refers to the crime that is simply known as resisting arrest. However, the law goes much further than simply resisting being arrested by a police officer. It includes additional behaviors as well.

Per the law in California, a person is prohibited from the following acts:

• Resisting arrest in general
• Delaying an arrest
• Obstructing in a situation in which a police officer is trying to make an arrest

These things apply to not only law enforcement officers attempting to arrest you or another person but also to emergency medical technicians (EMTs) when they are performing or trying to perform their normal job duties. It should be known that those duties can include the following:

• Traveling to the scene of an accident or crime
• Conducting interviews with people who are investigating a crime
• Monitoring a suspect of a criminal case who is already in custody

Examples of Resisting Arrest

In the state of California, resisting arrest can include any number of scenarios and behaviors. The following are a few examples:

• Making rude and obscene gestures and comments toward police officers who are attempting to arrest a person in your presence
• Struggling in the grasp of a police officer who is trying to arrest you and place handcuffs on you
• Giving police officers a fake name when they attempt to question you about a crime, regardless of whether or not you committed it

Penalties for Resisting Arrest in California

In California, the crime of resisting arrest is considered and charged as a misdemeanor. Penalties for committing this crime may include the following:

• Spending up to one year in jail
• Being fined a fine of up to $1,000

Possible Legal Defenses for Resisting Arrest

Although the crime of resisting arrest can certainly seem like a minor one, it is still important to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you in your case. Even though the crime is charged as a misdemeanor, it can still negatively impact your life in the future. The following are possible defenses your attorney can argue in court to have the charges against you diminished or even dismissed:

• You acted in self-defense in resisting officers who arrested you
• You were falsely accused and should not have been arrested
• Your arrest was unlawful and the police were engaging in misconduct

What is the Legal Definition of Resisting Arrest in California?

In the state of California, there are generally three factors that determine the definition of “resisting arrest.” Those factors are also known as the elements of the crime. For a person to be found guilty of resisting arrest, the prosecution is required to prove the following things:

• A police officer, peace officer, public officer or EMT was performing their normal duties as they are supposed to
• You interfered, resisted, delayed or obstructed that officer from performing their rightful duties
• You should have reasonably known that the officer was legally permitted to perform those duties and that they were performing them at the time of the incident

A person must willfully act in a manner that interfered with police or other officers from performing their work. This means you interfered, obstructed, resisted or delayed on purpose. It doesn’t even matter if you were not intending to break the law or hurt anyone else.

Usually, resisting arrest involves some sort of physical action on the part of the defendant. However, in some cases, it can even involve verbal actions that can obstruct, delay or resist an officer from performing their duties.

Example of Verbal Action Obstructing an Officer

A security guard in a store at a mall notices a person shoplifting. The security guard calls out to the young woman, who ends up giving him a fake name to resist being arrested once the police show up and take her to the police station. Later, however, while running her fingerprints through the system, they learn of her true identity.

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