Under California law, it is illegal to resist arrest, which means participation in any action that resists, delays, or otherwise obstructs law enforcement from attempting or performing an arrest. This can take a variety of forms, from getting into a physical altercation with police as they attempt arrest you, to verbally confronting officers or giving false identification in connection with a crime. Considering the wide range of activities that are considered resisting arrest, it is possible for law enforcement to charge someone whether they have done so or not.
How can I be charged with resisting arrest?
Resisting arrest can be charged as a misdemeanor crime with up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. While the penalties for resisting arrest are relatively minor on their own, when considered in a court case for another crime or tacked on to additional penalties, it can make a difference.
In order to be charged with resisting arrest, it must be proven that:
- Law enforcement was present and attempting to do their legal duties;
- The accused took part in an activity that prevented law enforcement from completing those duties;
- The accused did those actions with the intention of preventing law enforcement from doing their duties; and
- The accused knew that law enforcement was attempting to engage in their duties.
There is no need to accept a resisting arrest charge. With the help of a criminal defense lawyer, it can be shown that this was a wrongful arrest, police were engaged in misconduct, actions were done in self-defense or it was a false accusation. There are many instances of police using resisting arrest to justify their unwarranted behavior. For example, someone that defends themselves from an officer using excessive force may be charged with resisting arrest if they attempt to fight back against this force.
If you or a loved one have been accused of resisting arrest, do not let this go on your criminal record! A resisting arrest conviction can cause law enforcement to act more aggressively towards you in other cases. You can get a case consultation from the Law Offices of Grech & Packer to learn how our firm can defend your rights.