“Resisting Arrest” Defenses & Punishment – California Penal Code 148(a)(1) PC

April 11, 2016

If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest under California Penal Code 148(a)(1), then you’re likely charged with other offenses as well – e.g., DUI, public intoxication, assault, or burglary. All crimes against police officers are aggressively prosecuted often requiring you to serve time in county jail. However, most instances of this charge are exaggerations made by the police officer and often the lawful performance of the police officer is called into question. If you’ve been accused of this crime, you can ensure that Resisting Arrest Defense Attorney John Rogers will conduct a comprehensive review of the government’s evidence to seek or construct a defense that will defending your rights and obtain the best possible outcome. The following article will address 9 important things you should know about resisting arrest charges.

1. What is the Legal Definition for Resisting Arrest?

Resisting Arrest is formally defined under PC 148(a)(1) as “Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or EMT, in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment…[is guilty of resisting arrest].”

2. What Must the Prosecutor Prove for Resisting Arrest?

To prove you’re guilty of resisting arrest under PC 148(a)(1), the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. A public officer was lawfully performing or attempting to perform his or her duties

2. You willfully resisting, obstructed, or delayed the performance of the officer’s duties

3. You knew or reasonably should have known the other person was a public officer

3. What is the Punishment for Resisting Arrest?

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor offense carrying up to one year in the county jail and a fine not exceeding $1,000 if convicted. The court will normally place you on a period of probation for three years and impose anger management and community service. Additionally, you may be ordered to pay restitution for any damages the police office received to himself or uniform.

4. What are the Legal Defenses to Resisting Arrest?

• You did not willfully resist or delay a police officer rather it was on accident or the result of a mental disorder outside your control.

• The person you resisted, delayed, or obstructed was not a public officer defined by PC 148(a).

• You had no reason to know the person arresting you was a police officer – for instance, they could have been working under cover and never identified themselves.

• You were acting in self-defense from the police officer’s unreasonable use of force against you.

• The police officer’s conduct exceeded their permissible scope and therefore not lawfully acting as a police officer.

• The police officer was not armed with reasonable suspicion or probable cause to detain or arrest you in violation of your Fourth Amendment search and seizure rights.

• You were arrested inside your home without a warrant and you did not give consent for the police officers to enter nor was there any emergency circumstances justifying their entry.

• The police officer is fabricating or exaggerating the circumstances.

5. Early Intervention

When accused of committing a crime against a police officer, it’s always in your best interest to retain a Resisting Arrest Lawyer at the cases earliest juncture. With the passage of time, pertinent evidence may be lost, destroyed, deleted, or recorded over. The Law Offices of John Rogers takes the initiative and contacts all individuals and/or business by submitting notices to preserve evidence. For example, submitting preservation notices to homes and/or business informing them not to delete video surveillance footage which may be vital towards your defense. Furthermore, Mr. Rogers will demand that you document and photograph all injuries – e.g., bruising, cuts, or scraps immediately before your marks heal as it may be necessary evidence to show the judge or jury. Therefore, if you’ve been arrest, contact the Law Offices of John Rogers right away.

6. Police Officer’s Background Investigation

When accused of committing a crime against a police officer, an investigation concerning their personnel background is always required. The defense normally submits a Pitchess motion requesting an order to obtain citizen complaints against the police officer you’re accused of resisting against. If granted, opposing counsel must disclose complaints written by people who’ve encounter this same police officer and perhaps have fallen victim to the officer’s unreasonable use of force. These individuals play a critical role in defending resisting arrest charges because it helps display that this officer has a character trait of using excessive force against all arrested suspects.

7. Resisting Arrest Expungement

If you suffer from a conviction for resisting arrest under PC 148(a)(1), then you may be eligible to expunge your conviction pursuant to California PC 1203.4 after successful completion of your probation. Upon proper petition to the judge, the court will withdraw its finding of guilt, enter a not guilty plea, and then dismiss the case under the 1203.4 statute. Afterwards, you shall be immediately released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from your conviction. This remedy has considerable benefits for those seeking employment in the private sector. For more information or if you’re seeking to expunge your record, contact the Law Offices of John Rogers for a free consultation.

8. What are Examples of Resisting Arrest?

Dan was pulled over by a police officer for speeding going 40 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. The police officer asked Dan to get out of the vehicle. Dan complied and the officer immediately placed Dan in handcuffs. The officer placed the handcuffs on Dan too tightly causing Dan severe pain around his wrists. Dan immediately fell to the floor as a result of the pain. The police officer arrested Dan from resisting arrest since Dan was not complying. In this case, Dan’s Defense Lawyer would argue that Dan did not willfully resisting or delay the officer’s duties because his behavior resulted from the pain of the handcuffs being placed on him too tightly. Furthermore, the lawfulness of Dan’s arrest / detention would be called into question since he merely violated the traffic law and not a misdemeanor of felony.

Sara was in her car while it was idling. She was purchasing marijuana from one of her friends. After the transaction, she noticed a man running towards the back of her car yelling “Stop! Stop! Stop!” Sara felt scared and fled the scene. She was subsequently detained by Sheriff’s Deputies and arrested for possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. In this case, Sara’s Resisting Arrest Lawyer would argue that Sara had no reasonable reason to know that the man running behind her was an uncover police officer since he wasn’t wearing identifiable clothing nor did he ever verbally identify himself as a police officer.

9. Free Criminal Defense Consultation

If you’ve been arrested or charged with resisting arrest under PC 148(a)(1), contact an experienced Newport Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer at the Law Offices of John Rogers to schedule a free confidential consultation.

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