California Penal Code Section 148; Resisting Arrest

California Punishment and Sentence for Resisting Arrest

Resisting arrest under California Penal Code Section 148(a) is defined as a criminal offense that makes it illegal to intentionally resist, delay or obstruct a law enforcement officer or emergency medical technician from performing their lawful duties. 

For one to be considered guilty of resisting arrest, the prosecution has to prove several elements. First, a prosecutor has to prove that during the incident, there was a peace officer, public officer, or emergency medical technician who was lawfully performing or trying to perform their duties. Second, they have to prove that the suspect willfully resisted, obstructed, or delayed an officer or emergency medical technician from properly performing or trying to perform those duties. Lastly, they have to prove that the suspect knew or reasonably should have known that they were an officer or emergency medical technician engaged in those duties. 

A person acts willfully when they commit an act with purpose. As long as the act was intentional, it does not matter if they did not intend to break the California law or cause harm to another person. 

Several acts can result in resisting, obstructing, or delaying an officer or emergency medical technician from performing their job duties. The common ones include running away, hiding from the police officers, or physically struggling while being handcuffed or put in a police vehicle. 

California Penal Code Section 148(a) states that resisting arrest is a misdemeanor, and the resisting arrest punishment for a misdemeanor offense consists of up to one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. 

If a person takes or attempts to take a weapon or firearm from the immediate presence of an officer as they resist arrest, the punishment that they will face depends on whether the offense is charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Such an offense is considered a wobbler under California resisting arrest laws, meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the facts of the case and an individual’s prior criminal history. 

A person convicted of misdemeanor resisting arrest could face up to a year in county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. A person convicted of felony resisting arrest could face 16 months, two or three years in county jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.

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