The Crime of Resisting Arrest in California

Just because you disagree with the police about whether or not you deserve to go to jail, it does not mean you have an equal say in the matter. As officers attempt to handcuff you, your first instinct may be to resist their efforts. Maybe you can think of 20 excellent reasons that cops are out of line or have the wrong guy, but none of those reasons give you the right to fight back against officers who are trying to cuff, transport, or book you into jail. You are much better off cooperating and getting your comeuppance in court—because if you get charged with resisting arrest, the consequences may not be very pleasant. 

What Does Resisting Arrest Look Like?

Every scenario is different, so drawing a picture of resisting arrest is a little bit complicated. The legal definition refers to willfully delaying, resisting, or obstructing a peace officer, public officer, or EMT as they are attempting to do their duty. It can include disrupting or impeding communications over a public safety radio frequency and certainly includes any attempts to disarm an officer of the law. Now, some of this could be interpreted differently by various stakeholders in different situations. Does heckling and name-calling fall under the statute? What about running or hiding from an officer? What if you are a bystander who argues with the cops? The shades of gray involved could make a prosecution a challenge when an adept defense is launched.

Defending the Charges

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to demonstrate that a defendant had no intention of interfering with an officer’s duties. Another tact might be asserting that there were no legal grounds for your arrest or that there was an unlawful use of force against a suspect who simply tried to mount a reasonable defense. Finally, it is possible the allegations of resisting arrest were concocted to begin with.

Penalties for Resisting Arrest

The penalties for resisting arrest are pretty consequential: a guilty verdict could land you in jail for a year in addition to $1,000 in fines. If a weapon is involved, penalties increase substantially. That could have significant implications for family relations, employment, and your future in general.

Defending You

At The Law Office of David M. Boertje, our experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys always fight for the best possible outcomes for our clients. To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our San Diego office today.

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