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Resisting Arrest

Resisting Arrest Law in California - Penal Code 148(a) PC 

Resisting arrest is generally charged as a misdemeanor battery (California Penal Code section 242). In order to convict you of this offense, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) you used force on someone (2) while resisting arrest (3) when there was no excessive force used against you.

A related offense is Interfering With An Officer's Duties, California Penal Code 148(a), which is also a misdemeanor offense. In order to convict you of this offense, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) you intentionally resisted, delayed, or obstructed a police officer; (2) that you did so while the police officer was trying to perform his or her duties; (3) that you knew or should have known that the person was a police officer performing his or her duties.

There are also related versions of this offense that can be charged as felonies if you attempted to grab a weapon during the offense (California Penal Code sections 148(b)-(d).). It's not uncommon for those arrested for arrested for resisting arrest also to face charges of PC 647(f) public intoxication. Penal Code 148.9 PC defines the crime of false identification to a police officer.


Resisting arrest is typically a misdemeanor offense, though you could be charged with a felony for taking an officer's weapon. If you are convicted, you could be sentenced to pay a fine up to $1000 and incarceration in a county jail for as long as 1 year. The judge could also decide to put you on probation and impose any conditions they believe are relevant to the circumstances of the offense.

Sadly, a conviction of a resisting arrest charge can come with a heavy price. You may be incarcerated and be unable to support yourself or your family. Loss of a job may follow, leading to financial difficulties. You will also now have a criminal record to deal with when applying for new employment, insurance or even school programs.

What are the Legal Defenses? 

Many people are wrongfully charged with resisting arrest, and some defenses can be used to fight this unfair and serious accusation.

If you believe there are no grounds for you to be charged with this offense, it is imperative to call a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to assess the events surrounding your arrest and determine your legal options to challenge the allegations.

  • Unlawful arrest: Law enforcement officers must follow proper procedure when making an arrest, and if you resisted after an officer failed to adhere to the law, you did not commit any offense.
  • Self-defense: You can use as much force as is necessary and reasonable to defend yourself against an officer who engaged in misconduct and attempted to inflict unlawful bodily harm upon you.
  • False allegations: In some cases, officers accuse a defendant of resisting arrest in revenge or simply because they were uncooperative. If your charges are invalid, retaining an aggressive defense team to advocate for the truth is important.

When faced with this difficult situation, retaining a competent criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles is crucial in order to investigate the actions that led to these charges. To provide you with the best possible defense, it is best to consult with an attorney right away.

Our firm has knowledgeable legal staff committed to providing you with personalized attention and keeping you informed of the progress of your case throughout the legal process.

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