Resisting Arrest Charges in California
What Is Resisting Arrest?
If a person tries to physically touch, hit or strike the police officer or other legal authority that is attempting an arrest, they may be charged with resisting arrest. This offense may be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or as a felony crime, depending upon the circumstances involved. An individual may be charged with felony resisting arrest even if there was no actual injury to the officer, or no weapon was used.
California Law on Resisting Arrest
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.
What Is Considered Resisting Arrest?
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.
California Resisting Arrest Sentence
If you are charged with resisting arrest as a misdemeanor, the sentence is up to 1 year in the county jail, and/or a fine of $1000. If you are convicted of felony resisting arrest, you may spend up to 3 years in the state prison. The severity of you charges is at the prosecutor's discretion, which makes it vitally important that you have an extremely competent Riverside resisting arrest attorney from Grech & Packer by your side in the courtroom. We will use our 39 years of expertise to protect your legal rights and aggressively defend your case.
Is Resisting Arrest a Felony in California?
Under California Penal Code section 148(a), resisting arrest is considered a misdemeanor charge, and you could be sentenced to 1 year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. However, if you are charged with felony resisting arrest, you could be sentenced to 3 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Resisting Arrest - Felony
Your felony resisting arrest charge will be added on to your original arrest charge, along with an additional sentence. If your original charge was one that you could receive a strike for under the Three Strikes Law, a resisting arrest conviction could put you into the two strikes category, or the three strikes category, if you already had a prior conviction. Convictions at this level place your entire future at risk.
How to Get A Resisting Arrest Charge Dropped
When defending a client facing resisting arrest charges in California, our attorneys may employ a number of strategies in an attempt to have the charge dropped or dismissed. Attorneys may use the following strategies:
- Challenging the legality of the arrest: Resisting arrest cases are often defended by challenging the legality of the arrest itself. It is possible that the attorney will argue that the arresting officer lacked probable cause to make the arrest, or that he used excessive force in doing so.
- Officer failed to identify themselves: Law enforcement officers are required to identify themselves in an arrest attempt under California law. Lawful arrest may be challenged if the officer failed to identify themselves.
- Present evidence that the client wasn't resisting: In some cases, a defense attorney may argue that the client was attempting to protect himself or herself from harm or to defend his or her constitutional rights instead.
- Challenge officer's credibility: Attorneys may challenge the credibility of the arresting officer and argue that the charges should be dropped if they believe that the officer is untrustworthy or has a history of misconduct.
- Negotiate with the prosecutor: Occasionally, the defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor for the charge to be reduced to a lesser offense or dropped entirely. The prosecutor might drop the charge if evidence of mitigating circumstances is presented.
Resisting Arrest Defense in Riverside
Attorney Paul Grech is a former prosecutor, which means we know the strategies the state uses when preparing their case. We will build our own effective case in your defense by investigating the events of your arrest and all available evidence. We will review all police reports and compare them to the statements of any witnesses. If we find any discrepancies or weaknesses in the prosecution's case, we will request that the charges against you be reduced or dismissed so you will not have to go to trial.
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