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Understanding California's Resisting Arrest Laws

California Penal Code 148(a)(1) PC describes the criminal offense known as “resisting arrest.” The legal definition of resisting arrests involves three elements.

In order to be guilty of resisting arrest, the prosecution needs to prove the following three elements:

  • During the incident, there was a peace officer, public officer, or emergency medical technician (EMT) who was lawfully performing or attempting to perform his/her duties.
  • The suspect willfully resisted, obstructed, or delayed him/her from properly performing or attempting to perform those duties.
  • The suspect knew or reasonably should have known that he/she was an officer or EMT engaged in those duties.

You act willfully when you commit an act with purpose. As long as the act is intentional, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t intend to break the law or cause harm to another person.

Various activities can result in resisting, obstructing, or delaying an officer or EMT in the performance of their job duties. Common actions of resisting arrest include running away, hiding from police, or physically struggling while being handcuffed or put in a police vehicle or sell. Furthermore, even failing to provide your name or giving a false name to police officers is a form of obstructing them in the performance of their duties.

Resisting arrest is considered a misdemeanor in California, which is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1,000. Judges are able to impose any probation conditions that they see fit.

The following are other criminal charges that can be associated with a resisting arrest charge:

  • Assault
  • Battery on a peace officer
  • Resisting an executive officer
  • Evading arrest
  • False report of an emergency
  • False report of a crime
  • False identification to a police officer

If you are arrested for a criminal offense, such as resisting arrest, in California, contact our Bakersfield criminal defense lawyer at Campbell Whitten and request a free consultation today.