When an individual interferes with police making a lawful arrest, it’s called resisting arrest. The crime is typically defined as any use of physical force to prevent a peace officer from taking the defendant to jail, arresting them, or handcuffing them. In California, resisting arrest is a crime.

What Does the Law Say In California?

The California Penal Code makes it illegal to willfully delay, resist, or obstruct any emergency medical technician, police officer, or public officer. 

To Convict Me of Resisting Arrest, What Does a Prosecutor Have to Prove?

The prosecutor has to prove: 

  • The victim in the incident was a police officer, EMT, or public officer attempting to or lawfully performing official duties 
  • The defendant willfully delayed, obstructed, or resisted the victim in performance of their duties 
  • The defendant knew or reasonably should have known the victim was a peace office, EMT, or police officer attempting to or actually performing their duties

Is Resisting Arrest The Same as Assaulting a Police Officer?

No. Assault is an unrelated charge defined as at attempt to commit battery. Assaulting a police officer occurs when someone attempts to commit battery on a police officer, whether or not the officer is trying to make an arrest. While resisting arrest is trying to prevent the police officer from making a lawful arrest or perform their work duties. 

What’s The Punishment for a Resisting Arrest Conviction?

In California, resisting arrest is charged as a misdemeanor. A conviction of resisting arrest is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. 

Should I Contact a Lawyer About Fighting My Resisting Arrest Charge?

Yes, you should contact a California criminal lawyer regarding the defenses available to fight this charge and win.