California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC – Resisting Arrest

California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC makes it a crime for an individual to willfully resist, delay, or obstruct a police officer or emergency official from performing his duties. An individual who prevents such person from performing their duties is guilty of a misdemeanor offense and faces a jail sentence of up to twelve (12) months in county jail, as well as a fine of up to $1000.

If you or a loved one has been charged with resisting arrest, you should immediately contact an Experienced Resisting Arrest Attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Text of California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC – Resisting Arrest

“(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.”

Proving an Individual Guilty of Violating CPC Section 148(a) PC

For the prosecution to prove an individual guilty of violating Section 148(a), the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove any one of the following elements, it will not be able to convict the defendant guilty of a resisting arrest charge.

  • The defendant intentionally resisted, obstructed, or delayed,
  • A police officer or EMT (emergency medical technician)
  • From performing his or her duties, and
  • The defendant knew that the police officer or EMT was performing his duties

The resisting arrest statute applies to situations other than just resisting arrest. For example, if a person refuses to obey a police officer by entering the scene of a crime, obstructing his ability to arrest another individual, preventing an officer from interviewing other witnesses, or preventing or obstructing a police officer from performing any of his lawful duties.

That said, if a police officer is using excessive force to arrest an individual or is doing something outside the scope of his duties, an individual cannot be convicted of resisting arrest or obstructing a police officer from performing his duties.

Examples of Resisting Arrest

A man is at a bar and has been drinking excessively, the bar owner kicks him out of his establishment. A police officer notices that the defendant is trying to fight other people outside the bar. If the police officer attempts to arrest the defendant, and the defendant goes limp, forcing a police officer to drag him to their patrol car, the defendant can be charged and convicted of resisting arrest under California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC.

Police officers are called to respond to a domestic violence situation where a husband has pushed his wife while they were having a dispute. Upon arrival, the husband throws himself to the ground and refuses to cooperate with police officers who are trying to place him under arrest. In this situation, the husband can be charged with both domestic violence and resisting arrest because he obstructed the police officers from arresting him, which is part of their duty as police officers.

A man is out at a bar drinking with his friends, he is extremely intoxicated and is sleeping on the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to walk around him. The man is limp and had to be dragged by police officers to their patrol vehicle. Although the man can be charged and convicted of being drunk in public, the prosecution cannot convict him of resisting arrest because he did not intentionally seek to obstruct them or prevent them from performing their duties. Instead, he was limp and tired from drinking too much alcohol, which prevents him from forming the intent to intentionally prevent police officers from performing their duty.

Offenses Related to Resisting Arrest

In some of the cases that we have handled, our clients have been charged with resisting arrest in addition to some of the following criminal offenses:

  • Evading an officer – CVC Section 2800.1 VC
  • Felony Reckless Evading – CVC Section 2800.2 VC
  • False identification to a police officer – CPC 148.9 PC
  • Causing a battery on a police officer – CPC 243(b) PC

Penalties for Resisting Arrest and Violating California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC

Here are some of the potential consequences an individual faces if he is found guilty of resisting under Section 148(a) PC:

  • Conviction of a misdemeanor offense
  • Up to 12 months in county jail
  • A fine of up to $1000
  • Three to five years of probation
  • The court can order additional punishments as the judge sees fit

Defenses for Resisting Arrest

If you have been charged with resisting arrest under California Penal Code Section 148(a) PC, there are a variety of defenses that your attorney can use to defend you. This is not an exhaustive list of the defenses that you attorney can use, but rather some of the most commonly used defenses. Here are some of the defenses for resisting arrest charges:

  • If the facts of your case support this, your attorney may be able to argue that the arresting officer was using excessive force while arresting and therefore, you were justified in resisting arrest. This is known as a self-defense defense, which allows an individual to resist when a police officer uses force that exceeds what is reasonable under the circumstances.
  • The second defense that your attorney may use is that you are falsely being accused of resisting arrest. It is not uncommon for police officers to lie about an individual resisting arrest.
  • The third defense is that you simply did not resist arrest

More defenses may apply to your case, the only way to find out what defenses apply is to contact an experienced resisting arrest attorney at The H Law Group. Upon contact, we will gather some information from you surrounding your arrest, and we will then examine the information to determine which defenses apply to your case.

Contact an Experienced Resisting Arrest Attorney to Defend You

If you have been charged with resisting arrest under 148(a) PC, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and fight for you to keep you out of jail. At the outset of every case, our attorneys will examine the facts of your case to determine whether a dismissal is possible. If they believe that a dismissal is possible, they will communicate this to the prosecution.

If the prosecution refuses to dismiss your case, our attorneys will do all that they can to negotiate the best possible plea deal for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at a 1 (213) 370-0404.

Charged with a Crime?


Act now to protect your legal rights.

Charged with a Crime?


Act now to protect your legal rights.