Posted on September 30, 2015

Defending “Resisting Arrest” Charges P.C. § 148(a) │ Los Angeles Crimes Defense Attorney

In California, resisting arrest charges are governed under Penal Code § 148(a). In most instances, resisting arrest allegations are accompanied by additional charges such as DUI, battery on a police officer, or assault on a peace officer. In addition, most resisting arrest accusations are not captured on video footage leaving the officer “word” as evidence against you. Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers has represented numerous clients accused of resisting arrest and makes it a point to tailor his representation to expose the fabrications and/or exaggerations of the police officer to clear his clients from any wrongdoing. Police officers know that their word in court has more credibility that your own which is why they’re able to get away with exaggerating the truth. Common examples of resisting arrest allegations include applying force preventing a police officer from placing the handcuffs on you or pushing the police officer to avoid being arrested or hiding your hands in your pockets.

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor offense which carries up to six months in the county jail. Additionally, the court will normally impose a probation term of three years, anger management classes, court fines and fees, as well as restitution for any damages to the police officers uniform – i.e., a portion may rip as a result of trying to apprehend you. If you are alleged to resist while using violence against the police officer then you can expect to be charged with a possible felony under P.C. § 69 – resisting an officer with force or violence. Consequently, your exposure becomes more severe in that instance.

Legal Defenses

• You were acting in self-defense against the police officer’s use of excessive force. If the officer is using unreasonable force to effectuate your arrest, and you respond with force to defend yourself, then you are not guilty of resisting arrest.

• The police officers is exaggerating or fabricating the circumstances. There could be ulterior motives of the police officer. For instance, you called him or her names.

• The police officer(s) did not have any reasonable suspicion or probable cause to detain you in the first place. In order to lawfully detain a suspect, a police officer must have ample probable cause or reasonable suspicion that you are committing a crime. If there is no probable cause or reasonable suspicion, then your ultimate detention will be deemed a violation of your Fourth Amendment right of the U.S. Constitution. In that instance, you cannot resist arrest if you’re not lawfully under arrest.

• The person who arrested you is not a “police officer” with arresting power. If you were detained by a security guard or a private security company, and the security agent does not have arresting power, then you are not guilty of resisting arrest.

• You suffer from a mental disorder that causes you to act in a certain manner beyond your control. In other words, you did not harbor the requisite intent to commit the crime of resisting arrest but instead was an impulse of a mental disorder.


Dan was in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend. The disputed escaladed resulting in Dan punching his girlfriend in the face. His girlfriend ran to the next door neighbor’s home and called 911 for help. When police arrive, Dan is inside his home. The police officer’s bang on Dan’s door requesting that he exit his home so they can arrest him for domestic violence with his girlfriend. Dan surrenders by opening the door where he immediately greeted by an officer who rushes inside, lifts Dan up off his feet, and throws him across the room. The officer then places Dan in a chokehold. 5 other police officers follow to assist in arresting Dan. One of the police officers attempts to gain Dan’s arm to place around his back but Dan will not let the officer get his arm. Moments later, Dan loses consciousness and the police officer let’s go from Dan’s neck. Subsequently, Dan wakes up and is arrested by officers for resisting arrest and domestic violence. In this case, Dan’s defense attorney will argue that the police officer who placed Dan in a chokehold engaged in excessive force outside his legal performance as a police officer. Additionally, his attorney will argue that Dan did not surrender his arms because he was merely grasping for air since the officer cut off his breathing due to the chokehold. Because Dan did not intentionally resist arrest but was rather responding to save his life due to the officer’s lethal force, Dan may be acquitted of resisting arrest allegations.

Related Offenses

Penal Code § 69: Resisting an Executive Officer
Penal Code §§ 243(b) or (c): Battery on a Police Officer
Penal Code § 245(c): Assault with a Deadly Weapon upon a Peace Officer

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you have been arrested or charged with resisting arrest, then contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call 877-888-9820 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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