Resisting arrest is a crime charged under PC 148(a)(1) in California. It is defined as a willful act of preventing or attempting to prevent a peace officer from lawfully arresting you. This is considered a misdemeanor offense that can be punished with jail time, fines, and a criminal record. It can also be charged as a felony based on the circumstances of the case. If you have been accused of resisting arrest in Los Angeles, it is important to contact an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. Our lawyers at Los Angeles Criminal Attorney can help you understand the case filed against you, evaluate any possible legal defenses, and aggressively represent you throughout the criminal process.
How Does the Law Define Resisting Arrest?
PC 148.10 states that anyone who willfully delays, obstructs, or resists a public officer as they discharge their duties is guilty of a misdemeanor. In this case, a public officer includes police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and any other public officer performing their official duties.
Examples of resisting arrest include:
Physically resisting the officer. This can include anything from pushing, fighting, or even trying to escape.
Verbally refusing to comply with the officer’s instructions. This can include anything from refusing to answer questions, arguing with the officer, or disobeying orders.
Attempting to disguise his or her identity. This could include providing fake identification, wearing a disguise, or trying to blend in with a crowd.
Fleeing the scene. This could include running away from the officer or attempting to hide.
What are the Elements of PC 148(a)(1) /Resisting Arrest?
There are three main elements of resisting arrest. They include:
Willfully resisting, delaying, or obstructing: To be convicted of this offense, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant willfully, obstructed, resisted, or delayed a police officer or EMT. This means that the accused acted intentionally and not by accident or mistake.
A Peace officer or EMT engaged in the performance of their duties: An EMT or peace officer must be engaged in the performance of their lawful duties for the defendant to be convicted of resisting arrest. This could include anything from making an arrest, conducting a search, or providing medical assistance.
Knowledge of the peace officers' or EMT’s authority: The defendant must know that the person they are obstructing, resisting, or delaying is an EMT or peace officer. Note that, if the defendant does not know that the person is a peace officer or EMT, they cannot be convicted of resisting arrest.
If the prosecutor can prove all of the above elements beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant may be found guilty of resisting arrest. Also, note that you do not need to “succeed” in resisting arrest to be convicted. The intent to resist arrest is enough to be found guilty.
Penalties for Resisting Arrest
This crime is a wobbler, meaning that it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. The penalties for resisting arrest can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Generally, this crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail or a maximum fine of $1,000. Additionally, if the defendant used a “deadly weapon” or inflicted “great bodily injury” during the commission of the offense, he or she may be charged with a felony. If charged as a felony, the penalties can be much more severe, with a possible sentence of up to three years in prison or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Unsupervised Probation for Resisting Arrest
If a defendant is convicted of resisting arrest, they may be sentenced to unsupervised probation. Unsupervised probation is a sentence that allows a defendant to remain in the community while they serve their sentence. This type of probation requires the defendant to meet certain conditions such as maintaining regular employment, attending counseling, or completing community service. Failure to comply with the conditions of probation can result in severe penalties, including additional fines and jail time.
Legal Defenses For Penal Code 148(a)(1) Charges
When charged with Penal Code 148(a)(1), the defendant must present a valid legal defense to avoid conviction. Some of the most common defenses for Penal Code 148(a)(1) include:
No Probable Cause: This is among the most common legal defenses against Penal Code 148(a)(1) charges.No probable cause means that the police did not have a valid reason to believe that the accused was involved in criminal activity. For a police officer to make an arrest, they must have a reasonable belief that the accused was involved in a criminal act. If the police officer lacked that reasonable belief, then the arrest would be considered unlawful and the resulting charges could be dismissed.
Lack of Intent: The defendant must have acted willfully to be convicted of this offense, this means that the prosecutor must show beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to delay, resist, or obstruct the public officer or emergency personnel. If the defendant can prove that they did not have the intent to commit the crime, they cannot be convicted.
Self-Defense: If the defendant was acting in self-defense or defense of another person, they can use that as a legal defense against a Penal Code 148(a)(1) charge. To successfully use this defense, the defendant must show that they had a reasonable fear of imminent danger and that their actions were proportionate to the threat.
Necessity: This defense is based on the idea that the defendant’s actions were necessary to prevent greater harm. To use this defense, the defendant must prove that they had no other reasonable choice but to delay, resist, or obstruct the public officer or emergency personnel.
Mistaken Identity: If the defendant was not the person who delayed, resisted, or obstructed the public officer or emergency personnel, they cannot be convicted. The defendant can use alibis or CCTV footage to prove that they were misidentified as the perpetrator.
Duress:This means that the accused was forced to commit the crime against their will as a result of threats or coercion. To prove duress, the accused must present evidence that they were threatened or coerced into committing the crime and that they had no other choice but to comply.
Excessive Force: If the public officer or emergency personnel used excessive force against the defendant that was not warranted by the situation, the defendant may be able to use this as a defense.
Insufficient Evidence: Insufficient evidence means that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove that the accused committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. To prove this defense, the accused must present evidence that refutes the prosecution’s evidence or shows that the prosecution’s evidence is not enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Entrapment: This means that the accused was induced by law enforcement to commit a crime that they would not have committed otherwise. To prove entrapment, the accused must present evidence that shows that the police induced them to commit the crime and that they would not have done so without the police’s actions.
Note that every case is different and so are the defenses and defending a Penal Code 148(a)(1) charge is a complex task that requires an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your criminal defense attorney can help you present the defenses and protect your legal rights.
What Type of Evidence is Required During a Resisting Arrest Charge?
The prosecution must present sufficient evidence to prove that the defendant was indeed resisting arrest. The most common type of evidence presented in court to prove that the defendant resisted arrest is testimony from the arresting officer. The arresting officer will be asked to provide detailed information about the events leading up to the arrest, including the defendant's actions and words that indicated they were resisting arrest. The arresting officer's testimony is often the most critical evidence in a resisting arrest case.
Other types of evidence commonly used in resisting arrest cases include witness testimony, video or audio recordings of the incident, and physical evidence. Witnesses can provide valuable information about the scene, such as what the defendant said or did that indicated they were resisting arrest. Video or audio recordings of the incident can provide a visual or audible account of the events that transpired. Physical evidence, such as clothing or items taken from the defendant during the arrest, can provide further evidence that the defendant was resisting arrest.
Plea Bargain in a Resisting Arrest Case
A plea bargain is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor in a criminal case. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduced sentence or no jail time. Plea bargains are often used to resolve criminal cases quickly and efficiently. In exchange for pleading guilty to a lesser offense, the defendant may receive a reduced sentence or even have the charges dropped. This can be beneficial for both the defendant and the prosecution. The defendant may avoid the possibility of a long and costly trial, and the prosecution may avoid the risk of an acquittal or a hung jury.
Resisting arrest is a serious offense, and it can lead to additional charges. Depending on the circumstances, a person may be charged with anything from interfering with law enforcement to assaulting a police officer.
In some cases, a plea bargain may be used to resolve a resisting arrest case. The defendant may agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense, such as interfering with law enforcement or disorderly conduct. In exchange, the prosecutor may offer a reduced sentence or even drop the resisting arrest charge.
Offenses Related to Resisting Arrest
In addition to being charged with resisting arrest, someone may also be charged with other offenses related to the incident. For example, if someone assaults a peace officer during an arrest, they may also be charged with assault and battery. Again, if someone attempts to flee from an arrest, they may be charged with fleeing and eluding. Other related offenses include:
Obstruction of Justice
This is defined as intentionally impeding or obstructing law enforcement from performing their duties. Examples of obstruction of justice include lying to an officer, refusing to cooperate with an investigation, or providing false information to a police officer. Note that obstruction of justice can also include physical acts that impede law enforcement, such as running away from an officer or hiding evidence.
Resisting arrest is a form of obstruction of justice. This happens when a person actively interferes with a police officer’s ability to perform their job. This could be anything from physically resisting arrest to verbally refusing to cooperate with the police. Obstruction of justice is often charged in combination with other charges, such as resisting arrest or disorderly conduct. As a result, a person who is convicted of obstruction of justice may face additional penalties, such as increased fines or a longer jail sentence.
Assaulting a Law Enforcement Officer
This is defined as intentionally harming or threatening to harm a law enforcement officer while they are performing their duties. This can include physical contact, verbal threats, or any other type of behavior that puts the officer in fear for their safety.
Assaulting a law enforcement officer is often related to resisting arrest. This means that a person may be charged with both offenses if they are found to have resisted arrest and also assaulted a law enforcement officer while doing so. In such cases, the person may face two separate charges, one for resisting arrest and one for assault.
The penalties for assaulting a law enforcement officer can be quite severe. Depending on the jurisdiction, a person convicted of assaulting a law enforcement officer can face hefty fines, jail time, or both. As with any criminal offense, the penalties can vary depending on the severity of the offense and the jurisdiction in which the offense was committed.
Interfering with an Arrest
This is defined as intentionally impeding an officer’s ability to make an arrest. Examples of interference with an arrest include attempting to free someone who is being arrested, obstructing an officer’s movement, or providing false information to impede the arrest.
Interfering with an arrest can take many different forms, and it does not matter if the person being arrested is the individual who is interfering. A person can interfere with an arrest by physically obstructing the officer from making an arrest, or by attempting to dissuade the individual from being arrested. It can also include verbally challenging the officer or attempting to influence the officer's decision. For example, if a person tries to restrain the individual being arrested or attempts to pull them away from the officers, they may be charged with interfering with an arrest.
Additionally, if a person attempts to reason with the officers or to explain why the arrest is unwarranted, they may also be charged with interfering with an arrest. In addition, interfering with an arrest may also include providing false information to the arresting officer. For example, if a person lies about the identity of the individual being arrested or attempts to provide false information about the circumstances of the arrest, they may be charged with interfering with an arrest.
Tampering with evidence
Tampering with evidence is a criminal offense that is closely related to resisting arrest. It is a crime that is committed when a person intentionally alters, destroys, or hides evidence with the intent to prevent its use in an official proceeding. This often occurs when a person is arrested or suspected of a crime, and they attempt to cover their tracks to avoid being found guilty.
Tampering with evidence can range from relatively minor offenses, such as hiding a weapon or drug paraphernalia, to more serious crimes like destroying physical evidence or planting false evidence to sway opinion. In many cases, tampering with evidence is charged in addition to the crime the defendant is accused of, as it is seen as an attempt to obstruct justice. If convicted, a person may face serious consequences such as jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record.
The battery on a Police Officer (Penal Code 243(b))
The Penal Code 243(b) in California states that it is illegal to use battery on police officers while they are engaged in their duties. This offense of battery on a police officer is classified as a misdemeanor and carries a potential jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000.
When a person is accused of battery on a police officer, it means that the person intentionally and unlawfully used force or violence against the officer. This could include physical contact, such as hitting, kicking, or pushing the officer, or even throwing an object at them. It is also an offense to threaten an officer with physical harm, even if the threat is not carried out.
Resisting arrest is often a factor in cases involving the battery of a police officer. For example, the accused may have attempted to flee from the officer or physically resisted arrest in some way. The accused may also have verbally resisted arrest or failed to follow orders from the officer.
False Identification to an Officer
California Penal Code Section 148.9 PC makes it a crime to provide false identification to a police officer. Specifically, the law makes it a misdemeanor to present a false or forged identification card to any peace officer who has lawfully detained you for investigation or to evade the process of the court.
If convicted of this offense, you could face up to six months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Additionally, you may be charged with a separate offense under California Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) for resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer in the performance of his duties.
Can Interfering With a Separate Investigation Cause a Resisting Arrest Charge?
Yes, interfering with another investigation can constitute a resisting arrest charge. This occurs when an individual attempts to hinder or obstruct a law enforcement officer from the lawful performance of their duties. This can include activities such as interfering with an investigation, threatening or intimidating an officer, or attempting to prevent an officer from making an arrest.
Interfering with an investigation may include providing false information to an officer, obstructing an investigation, or tampering with evidence. When a person attempts to interfere with an unrelated investigation, they are essentially interfering with the law enforcement officer’s ability to do their job. This is a form of resistance and can be considered an act of obstruction of justice.
In some cases, an individual may not even be aware that they are interfering with an unrelated investigation. For example, if a person attempts to obstruct a police officer from questioning a witness or gathering evidence, but the investigation does not directly involve the person, they may still be charged with resisting arrest.
Important Takeaways to Note About Resisting Arrest
It is important to note that a person can be charged with resisting arrest even if no physical contact was made between the officer and the defendant. Simply refusing to comply with verbal orders or commands can be considered resisting arrest. It is also important to know that an officer does not have to be injured or assaulted for a person to be charged with resisting arrest, though this can increase the severity of the charges.
Find a Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer Near Me
If you or someone you know has been charged with resisting arrest in Los Angeles, it is important to hire a skilled and experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. Our professional defense attorneys at Los Angeles Criminal Attorney can help you build a strong defense and make informed decisions throughout the legal process. Call us at 424-333-0943.