The term “resisting arrest” sounds like a crime with a very specific definition, but the California criminal offense actually covers a much broader range of behaviors beyond just resisting an officer who is trying to arrest you. For example, you could face resisting arrest charges in Los Angeles for fighting back when an officer tries to detain someone unlawfully or uses excessive force while making a lawful arrest. These are both examples of illegal activities on the part of the police, and you should not face criminal charges for these acts. If you have been charged with California resisting arrest, and you are the victim of police misconduct, you can significantly reduce your chances of a criminal conviction by hiring a knowledgeable Los Angeles resisting arrest defense attorney. Our lawyers at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles are dedicated to providing effective and aggressive representation for clients facing criminal charges for resisting arrest, and will ensure that your rights are protected, from the moment you are arrested to the conclusion of your case.
Affordable Resisting Arrest Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
Of all the criminal offenses you can be charged with in California, resisting arrest probably seems like one that is relatively minor. However, a resisting arrest conviction in Los Angeles can lead to jail time and considerable fines, plus the burden of a criminal record, which can follow you for the rest of your life. If you have been arrested for or charged with resisting arrest, do not hesitate to protect your legal rights. The prosecution will begin building a case against you the moment you are arrested, and the sooner you hire a resisting arrest defense attorney, the sooner you can begin fighting these bogus charges. Our lawyers have the skill and resources necessary to build a strong defense in your case, and they are intimately familiar with the inner workings of the California criminal justice system, which makes them a valuable ally to have on your side when facing resisting arrest charges in Los Angeles. At Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles, our attorneys know which defense strategies are most successful in defending clients against resisting arrest charges in California. Contact us today at (213) 205-3100 for a free initial consultation.
Most people understand that they can be charged with resisting arrest if they become aggressive, violent or otherwise resist while being arrested by a police officer. However, many people don’t realize that they can face resisting arrest charges even if they are not being arrested. Under California Penal Code § 148(a)(1) PC, you can be charged with the crime of resisting arrest any time you “willfully resist, delay or obstruct 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.” In other words, if you prevent or attempt to prevent a police officer or any other public officer from conducting any duties related to his or her job, including traveling to the scene of an accident or crime, interviewing people to investigate a crime, or monitoring a criminal suspect in custody, whether the duties directly involve you or not, you could face criminal charges of resisting arrest under Penal Code § 148(a)(1) PC.
One obvious example of resisting arrest is struggling with a police officer in his or her attempt to arrest you, but there are a variety of other unlawful behaviors that can be charged as resisting arrest. For example, you could face resisting arrest charges if you give a false name to police officers who are questioning you about a crime, or if you mock or jeer at officers who are attempting to arrest a friend of yours. It is important to note that you cannot be convicted of resisting arrest in Los Angles if the officer you delay or resist, or attempt to delay or resist, is engaged in unlawful acts, including conducting an illegal arrest or using unreasonable or excessive force.
Conviction for Resisting Arrest Penal Code § 148(a)(1)
The burden of doubt in California resisting arrest crimes lies with the prosecution, which means, in order to get a resisting arrest conviction in Los Angeles, the prosecutor assigned to your case will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements of the crime:
- That you willfully resisted, delayed or otherwise deterred a peace officer, EMT or government official;
- That the peace officer, EMT or government official was lawfully performing his or her duties; and
- That you knew or should have known that the person you resisted or delayed was an official performing his or her duties.
How is Resisting Arrest Different from Assault or Battery?
If you are charged with the crime of resisting arrest (Penal Code § 148(a)(1) PC) in Los Angeles, you may also find yourself facing charges for California assault (Penal Code § 240 PC) or battery (Penal Code § 242 PC), which are separate criminal offenses that carry their own penalties. The crime of assault under California law is any unlawful attempt to inflict harm on another person that you are presently capable of carrying out. For example, if you lunge at a police officer who is trying to arrest you, but another person restrains you before you make contact with the office, you could be charged with both resisting arrest and assault. If your resisting arrest charge involves the willful and unlawful use of force or violence against the police officer, you could be additionally charged with battery, or, more specifically battery on a peace officer (Penal Code § 243(b) PC). Some other criminal offenses related to Penal Code § 148(a)(1) PC resisting arrest include Penal Code § 69 PC resisting an executive officer, Penal Code § 148.9 PC false identification to a police officer, Penal Code § 402(a) PC sightseeing at the scene of an emergency, Penal Code § 185 PC wearing a mask or disguise to evade the police, and Vehicle Code § 2800.1 and 2800.2 VC evading arrest, although these crimes are distinct from resisting arrest and carry their own criminal penalties.
Penalties for a Resisting Arrest Conviction
In Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, police officers who have been the victim of assault, battery or police brutality often wrongfully accuse people of resisting arrest and then attempt to justify their actions by alleging that the person or people interfered with the performance of their job duties. Even if a resisting arrest charge is illegal or false, unless you can get the charges dropped or reduced, the criminal penalties remain the same. In most cases, California resisting arrest is charged as a misdemeanor offense, punishable by penalties that may include up to one year in county jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines, plus misdemeanor probation.
However, if force or violence or a threat of force or violence is used against the officer, you could be charged with felony resisting arrest, a criminal offense punishable by up to four years in state prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines, plus a “strike” per California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing law. A resisting arrest conviction will also be a mark on your criminal record, which can make it difficult to get a job, enroll in higher education, or rent or buy a home. Even your professional licenses and ability to participant in government welfare programs can be affected by a Los Angeles resisting arrest conviction.
Defenses to Resisting Arrest Charges
If you are facing charges of resisting arrest in Los Angeles, your biggest mistake would be to think that you will automatically be convicted of the crime and allow yourself to be talked into an unfavorable plea agreement. Even though resisting arrest is typically charged as a misdemeanor, having a Penal Code § 148 PC(a)(1) conviction on your record can add a negative element to any future encounters with the police, even if you aren’t the one the police are interested in. There are many legal defenses a good criminal defense attorney can present on your behalf to explain, excuse or justify your alleged behavior, including the following:
- You were acting in self-defense
- You are the victim of mistaken identity
- You were falsely accused
- Your arrest was wrongful
- Your Constitutional rights were violated
- The officer was engaged in an unlawful activity
Hiring a Skilled Resisting Arrest Defense Attorney in Los Angeles
Oftentimes in Los Angeles, the police arrive at a scene where tensions are already high, which may be the case in a domestic dispute or a home invasion, and if someone gets in the way of the police, even if they are just a bystander or someone trying to help by calming everyone down, they could end up being wrongfully charged with resisting arrest. Our attorneys at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles understand how overwhelming facing criminal charges can be, especially if you were the victim of a wrongful arrest, and we are committed to protecting your legal rights and making sure you are given every opportunity to defend yourself against these charges. Contact our defense team at Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles today by calling (213) 205-3100 and find out how you may be able to get your charges reduced to a lesser offense or avoid a criminal conviction altogether.