Resisting Arrest

Charged with “Resisting Arrest?”

Being charged with resisting arrest (Penal Code §148(a)) may be a sign that your civil rights have been violated, and now you have to fight a criminal charge—which further frustrates your rights. Read below for some basic information related to this criminal offense. It may uncover much more serious issues that you may not be aware of.

What is Resistance?

1. Physically preventing an officer from arresting you by force

2. Delaying an officer from performing their duties

3. Obstructing an officer from performing their duties

Even if you did any of the three things listed above, you still may have a chance to fight and win your case. The reason for this is because an unlawful arrest or excessive force by the officer will negate (overcome) the charge of resisting. An unlawful arrest includes both an arrest made without legal grounds and an arrest made with excessive force. People v. White (1980) 101 Cal.App.3d 161, 167.

What if the Arrest was Unlawful?

A peace officer is not lawfully performing their duties is they are detaining or arresting you in an illegal way. Illegal detention or arrest usually happens when an officer does not have the right to search you, detain you, or arrest you without probable cause.

Excessive Force During Arrest

This may be hard to believe, but if an officer uses unreasonable or excessive force while they are trying to detain or arrest you, then you may lawfully use reasonable force to defend yourself. People v. Curtis (1969) 70 Cal.2d 347, 356. Excessive force by an officer triggers your right to self-defense—so long as you use reasonable force in defending yourself. These are very special rules that cover this area of law, so it is very important that you have a detailed discussion with your defense lawyer to find out if your rights have been violated.

What if you were Verbally Resisting?

The First Amendment protects a great deal of verbal criticism and challenge that is directed toward police officers. Houston v. Hill (1987) 482 U.S. 451, 461. The freedom of an individual to verbally oppose or challenge an officer’s actions without risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.

As you may see, the complexity of resisting arrest charges overlap with many Constitutional issues. To better understand your rights, contact us for an appointment.