CA Penal Code 148

Resisting Arrest

CA Penal Code 148 [1] is often referred to as resisting arrest but the law actually can punish you for: (1) resisting an arrest, (2) delaying an arrest, either your own or someone else’s, and (3) obstructing an officer from performing an arrest.

You can be arrested for CA Penal Code 148 if you obstruct either a police officer or an EMT (emergency medical technician).

The stereotypical resisting arrest case typically involves a criminal running from police after a car chase or a criminal refusing to have handcuffs placed on him/her while being arrested. However, resisting arrest cases can also apply to verbal assaults on police officers or EMTs or providing wrong information such as your name, date of birth, driver’s license number, etc.

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor and can include:

  • Up to one year in county jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fine
  • Informal probation term

Prosecuting CA Penal Code 148

In order for the prosecutor to prove that you’re guilty of resting arrest, he/she must prove the three elements of the crime:

  • A police officer or EMT was lawfully trying to perform his/her duties
  • You willfully resisted, obstructed, or delayed that person from performing their duties
  • You knew or reasonably should have known that the person performing the duties was a police officer or EMT

If the prosecutor cannot definitively prove these three elements then you should not be convicted for resisting arrest.

Defending CA Penal Code 148

There are several strategies that a skilled criminal defense attorney can utilize to have your case dropped or your charges reduced. The first approach your attorney will take is look at the arrest that you resisted. If the arrest that you either resisted, delayed or obstructed was unlawful, meaning the police or EMTs were acting unlawfully then you cannot be charged for CA Penal Code 148.

The first element of the crime is that, a police officer (or EMT) was lawfully trying to perform his/her duties. If the police acted unlawfully then the first element of the crime will not be satisfied.

The second approach your criminal defense attorney will take is to make sure that the arresting officer did not use excessive force when arresting you; if he/she did then your attorney can prove you were acting in self-defense. California law protects its citizens from being punished for protecting oneself when violence is the only way to do so. If you were being arrested and the officer was using excessive force, and you were forced to resist in order to protect yourself, then you cannot be charged with resisting arrest.

The next approach your criminal defense attorney will take is to try and prove that you were wrongfully arrested for CA Penal Code 148. If you were rude to a police officer, or called the police officer names then you should not be charged with resisting arrest. However, you cannot use fighting words with a police officer, or you can be charged with the crime. Your attorney will read the police report, look for eye witnesses and listen to the recording of your arrest and investigate if you were acting unlawfully.

As previously stated, there are three elements to the crime, if the prosecutor cannot prove all three, or if your attorney can disprove one or more of the elements, then you will not be convicted.

If you are facing a resisting arrest charge then it’s important to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney. Seppi Esfandi is a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and has the knowledge and experience necessary to prove your innocence. Call 310-274-6529 for a FREE case evaluation.



[1] (a) (1) Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician, as defined in Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code, in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

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