The state of California can harshly penalize individuals accused of violating California Penal Code Section 148(a): Resisting Arrest. This charge can apply to a wide range of actions involving police officers and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
You can increase your understanding of the penalties and defenses for a PC 148(a) violation right now. Get professional help regarding resisting arrest charges from the legal team at the Simmrin Law Group.
Resisting Arrest in California: The Legal Definition
Individuals can be charged under PC 148(a) if they impede law enforcement officers or EMTs who are carrying out a lawful duty. The court system uses a broad definition to cover lawful duties. For example, a police officer is carrying out a lawful duty when he:
- Questions a Witness
- Moves Around a Crime Scene
- Makes an Arrest
EMTS may carry out their lawful duty by helping an injured individual. Any person who intentionally interferes with any of these activities can be charged with resisting arrest. Depending on the severity of the interference, individuals could also be charged with:
Note that not everything done by police officers and EMTs is considered a lawful duty. Individuals are allowed to try to stop police officers or EMTs if they are acting unreasonably or subjecting someone to excessive force while carrying out their duties. In this situation, a person might avoid charges related to PC 148(a).
Resisting Arrest in California: Examples
Individuals can be charged with resisting arrest in California for many reasons. The following examples show some actions that violate PC 148(a):
Person A is pulled over for driving erratically. The police officer asks Person A to step out of the car. Person A climbs out, but then attacks the police officer. Person A is subdued in the ensuing fight. Person A could be charged with resisting arrest.
Person B is at home when Person C has a heart attack. Person B hates Person C. EMTs are called and arrive at the scene. Person B tries to block the progress of the EMTs, hoping that Person C will not survive. Person B could face charges under PC 148(a).
Person D is stopped by the police. The police officers believe that Person D is selling a controlled substance and begin threatening Person D. One officer begins arresting Person D, using an extreme amount of force. In fear for his life, Person D fights back in self-defense. Person D may be able to avoid charges for resisting arrest.
Resisting Arrest in California: Possible Penalties
- Jail Time: Up to 1 Year
- Fines: Up to $1,000
If an individual who resists arrest resorts to battery the penalties can be much higher. Battery against police officers and other peace officers is prosecuted more harshly than other acts of battery. It can lead to years of prison time and up to $10,000 in fines.
Individuals may also face a ban on firearm ownership and they may be forced to attend anger management courses as part of their punishment.
Resisting Arrest in California: Legal Defenses
There are legal defenses that can help individuals beat charges for resisting arrest in California. Individuals who are facing PC 148(a) charges should contact a professional criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles for help going over their legal options immediately. Depending on the specifics of the case, a lawyer may argue:
You Were Acting in Self-Defense
Individuals in California are allowed to protect themselves and others from unlawful harm. If a police officer was utilizing excessive force, you may be able to claim that you were acting in self-defense when you resisted arrest.
You Were Falsely Accused of Resisting Arrest
Sometimes, people are accused of resisting arrest simply because a police officer does not like their attitude. A lawyer may be able to dig into the officer’s past behavior to see if this a recurring issue with the law enforcement officer.
Resisting Arrest in California: Getting Help
There are some challenges in life people have to face alone. Fortunately, you can get help standing up to a charge under California Penal Code Section 148(a): Resisting Arrest. The Simmrin Law Group has experience defending clients in the Los Angeles area. You can contact us for help with your case by calling (310) 997-4688 or completing our online contact form.
You can get advice about your situation with a FREE consultation.