Resisting Arrest Law in California

resisting arrest

According to California Penal Code 148(a)(1)& (2) PC, violating the resisting arrest law results misdemeanor charges. In addition, if the arrested uses force or a weapon or injures a police officer during an attempted arrest, he or she can face a felony accusation. Most of the additional California Penal Code violations associated with resisting arrest can be prosecuted as either misdemeanors or felonies. Thus, such crimes are considered to be “wobbler”. That is to say, their incrimination depends on a criminal history of the person as well as the specific circumstances of the unlawful act. Below we represent the short list of such aggravating offences:

  • using threats, force or violence to resist arrest (Penal Code Section 69)
  • disarming or taking an officer’s weapon while resisting arrest, other than a firearm; removing or taking an officer’s gun (Penal Code Section 148(b-d))
  • injuring a peace officer during an arrest resulting in death or serious bodily injury (Penal Code Section 140.10(a))
  • battery to a police officer, firefighter or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) (Penal Code Section 243( c ))
  • evading a police officer and evading a police officer with reckless driving (Vehicle Code Sections 2800.1, 2800.2)

In addition, According to California law it is illegal to resist, delay or to obstruct law enforcement officer or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) while he/she is attempting to perform his/her duties. These duties can include either arresting someone or a wide range of other activities as well, such as:

  • visiting to the scene of a crime or accident,
  • interviewing people to investigate a crime,
  • monitoring a criminal suspect who is in custody.

If the defendant’s behavior during the arrest was flagrant and he/she has a significant criminal record prosecutors are more likely to charge with a felony. But if this was his/her first arrest and there are extenuating factors (e.g., the defendant’s injuries are more serious than a peace officer’s injuries) the prosecutor may charge you with a misdemeanor.

According to California resisting arrest laws, circumstances of the arrest and your criminal record will affect sentencing if you are convicted of resisting arrest. If convicted of misdemeanor resisting arrest, you can be sentenced up to one year in a county jail and be required to pay a fine. A conviction for felony resisting arrest can result in up to four (4) years in state prison, a $10,000 fine and a “Strike” per California’s Three Strikes Law[1].

If you have faced accusations of resisting arrest in California, it is essential to contact an experienced California defense attorney who will provide legal assistance. The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. We are ready to handle every aspect of your case, from the very start through the very last court hearing, all for a flat fee agreed upon before we begin. Do not hesitate to contact us!

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000


[1] According to the California Three Strikes Law, any person who has been convicted of two or more prior strikes will be punished by a life term sentence if he or she commits a third felony. TSL imposes harsher sentences on offenders who are convicted of three or more violent crimes or serious felonies.

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