Misdemeanors and Felonies

Resisting arrest as a misdemeanor is generally resisting, obstructing, or delaying an officer in the performance of their duties. It is explained more fully in California Penal Code 148(a)(1). It can also apply to emergency medical technicians. The penalty carries up to 1 year in county jail and $1000 fine, in addition to any restitution for any damages. The conduct can be as simple as not complying with an officer's instructions, or running away. It can also be more serious where there is actual physical resisting which will trigger a much more aggressive response by law enforcement officers. If the physical resisting becomes violent or a threat of violence, it can be a felony resisting arrest per California Penal Code 69 which carries up to 3 years prison and $10,000 fine.

There are defenses to these charges which involve whether or not the police officer was lawfully performing his duty, or using excessive force. You do not have a right to physically resist even an unlawful arrest, you do have a right to defend yourself with reasonable force if the officer is using excessive force. If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony resisting arrest, it is important to contact a Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible while the events are fresh in your mind and to understand the process, discuss defenses and possible outcomes.

There are legitimate arrests and prosecutions for this violation, however, too often it is used as an excuse to take into custody someone who is bothering the officer in some way even though there may be a more appropriate way to handle the situation.

What Is Resisting Arrest?

In most situations, a resisting arrest charge stems from an individual not cooperating with an officer. This can mean many things, including:

  • Not obeying commands
  • Running away from or eluding a police officer
  • Going limp
  • Struggling or otherwise physically resisting arrest
  • Threatening or assaulting the officer

Resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer most often occurs during an arrest, but can also be charged in other situations, including:

  • When an officer is responding to a crime scene
  • When an officer is carrying out an investigation
  • When an officer is monitoring a suspect while in custody

If you were charged with misdemeanor or felony resisting arrest in California, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to review your case, answer your questions as well as help you understand the possible defenses, consequences and court procedures. Our clients rely on us for the highest level of personal and professional representation.

Discuss Your Case With an Attorney

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