Resisting arrest is not just a minor transgression such as receiving a warning after a traffic stop. It’s a criminal offense. California Penal Code § 148 makes it a crime for any person to willfully resist or obstruct a police officer, or EMT, in the performance of official duties.

According to this statute:

“Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician…in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

Examples of resisting arrest include the following:

  • struggling with police officers who are trying to handcuff you
  • attempting to take a police officer’s firearm
  • interfering with police traveling to the scene of a crime or accident
  • heckling an EMT trying to assist a victim
  • obstructing police from interviewing a witness to a crime
  • giving a false name to authorities during questioning

There are legal defenses that can be raised if accused of a crime under California Penal Code § 148. These include showing:

  • the act was not willful;
  • the defendant was falsely accused; and/or
  • the defendant was arrested without probable cause.

Three crimes related to resisting arrest are assault (California Penal Code § 240), battery on a peace officer (California Penal Code § 243b and 243c), and resisting an executive officer (California Penal Code § 69). A battery on a police officer is defined as willfully and unlawfully touching a peace officer or other protected official in a harmful or offensive manner, while the officer is engaged in the performance of his/her duties.

John Patrick Dolan is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. Certification as a Specialist in Criminal Law is the highest achievement awarded by the State Bar of California to attorneys in the field of criminal law. The attorneys at the Dolan Law Offices have decades of experience defending individuals charged with violent felonies. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here. Happy Holidays from the Dolan Law Offices!

Resisting Arrest Is A Crime

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