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Resisting Arrest Charges in California

Posted in Criminal Defense on August 24, 2020

Most people have heard of resisting arrest charges, as this is frequently a scenario that shows up on television shows and in the movies. However, resisting arrest charges are serious, and a conviction can result in jail time, fines, and a permanent mark on a person’s criminal record. Here, we want to discuss what the law says about resisting arrest charges, how a person may face these charges, and what the penalties are upon conviction.

What the law says about resisting arrest

Under California law, a person can face resisting arrest charges for a variety of reasons. Under California Penal Code section 148(a), a person could face these charges under the following conditions:

  • The “victim” was a police officer or EMT who was lawfully performing or attempting to perform their duties.
  • The alleged defendant intentionally resisted, obstructed, or delayed the performance of the aforementioned person’s duties.
  • When the defendant knew the police officer or EMT was performing their duties in a lawful manner.

The term “resisting arrest” can be somewhat misleading in these circumstances because applying these charges is not limited to the act performing an arrest. This charge can be applied to other lawful duties performed by police officers or EMTs. Other examples of when a resisting arrest charge could apply could be if a person prevents a police officer from interviewing witnesses or from freely moving around a crime scene. This could also occur if a person attempts to keep an EMT from accessing a victim.

What Are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest?

Resisting arrest is considered a “wobbler” offense in California, which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts surrounding the particular situation as well as the alleged defendant’s criminal history.

  • A misdemeanor conviction of resisting arrest could result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • A felony conviction of resisting arrest could result in up to 16 months or 2 to 3 years in jail and a maximum of $10,000.

Additionally, both a misdemeanor and a felony conviction for resisting arrest will result in the conviction being placed on a person’s criminal record, which could impede their ability to get a job, attend school, or find housing.

Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation

If you or somebody you love is facing resisting arrest charges, you need to speak to an attorney about your case as soon as possible. These charges may seem relatively minor at first, but the reality is that a resisting arrest charge can result in significant penalties, including jail time, fines, and a permanent mark on your criminal record. At the Law Offices of Graham Donath, APC, our skilled and experienced criminal defense attorneys are ready to get to work investigating your case. Our goal is to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed so you can get back to living your life. When you need a Riverside criminal lawyer, you can contact us for a free consultation or by calling as soon as possible.