In California, residents should allow law enforcement officers to handle their duties without any distractions or resistance. However, cases of resisting or distracting law enforcement in their duties have been noticed over time. This might lead to arrest and prosecution under California Penal Code 69.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to spend your time in police custody as you wait for your court hearings. Apart from that, court trials might last for years, and having to attend your court appearances from jail is frustrating. The judge determines your bill in a court hearing, and you are needed to pay before being released. If you cannot pay the amount, you need to find a bail bonds agent to help with posting bail. Schedule an appointment with 24 Hour Online Bail Bonds and let us help you keep your loved post bail and walk out of jail fast in any of the Southern California cities.
Definition of Resisting an Executive Officer under California Penal Code 69
Under California Penal Code 69, resisting an executive officer is defined as preventing a government official from performing his or her duties or resisting an executive officer in the performance of his or her duties. While the prosecutor is charging you for a prevention offense, he or she must prove that:
- You willfully and illegally used threats or violence while trying to prevent an officer from undertaking a lawful duty.
- Your actions were intentional.
While the prosecution is charging for a resistance offense, they must prove the following:
- You illegally used violence or force to resist a government official
- To perform his or her lawful duty
- You were aware that the officer was undertaking a lawful duty.
In this context, an executive officer represents government officials inclined into performing their duties. They include the following:
- Sheriffs and police officers.
- Government prosecutors.
- Defense attorneys.
- Other elected officials.
What the Prosecutor Must Prove While Charging for Resisting a Government Official
Prosecutors must prove certain aspects, known as elements of the crime. Under this code, the prosecutor must prove that:
- Your actions to prevent or resist an executive officer were willful.
- You used threats of violence.
- You used violence.
Under this statute, you are considered to have willfully acted if you do something willingly or on purpose. Therefore, if the prosecution cannot prove this element, you can raise doubt on the charges as your defense strategy.
Threat of Violence
Under this statute, you can make a threat in writing or orally and may be implied by a combination of statements or pattern of conduct. You can also make threats of violence if you make them through someone else. It’s also necessary to note that you don’t necessarily need to have the actual ability to carry out the threat for a guilty conviction.
Use of Violence
Under this statute, use of force or violence means any unlawful application of force against another person. The application does not necessarily have to cause pain or harm to the target person. Therefore, the slightest touch is enough to prosecute you as long as it’s done offensively, rudely, or angrily.
Some examples of violence under this statute include the following:
- Tearing a judge’s robe.
- Violently ripping official papers from the district attorney’s hand.
- Slapping a police officer.
- Touching an elected official’s breasts.
Apart from the above-stated elements of the crime, there are several other factors that you need to know about your prosecution. For instance, lawful duties refer to duties that an executive officer should legally perform. A district attorney has the discretion to press charges to a criminal case. Therefore, when you threaten or use violence to deter the attorney from pressing charges, this would be a crime under this section.
Comparison Between Penal Code 69: Resisting an Executive Officer and Penal Code 148(a)(1): Resisting Arrest
Charges under Penal Code 69 are usually confused with charges under Penal Code 148(a). Both statutes make it unlawful to fail to follow police orders. However, Penal Code 69 is a felony and can lead to a possible sentence in prison. At the same time, a conviction under Penal Code 148(a) is a misdemeanor and usually leads to performing community service.
The big difference between the two is that Penal Code 69 makes it illegal to prevent executive officers from performing their duties through threats of violence. It is a broader statute that applies to all executive officers or employees of the government responsible for enforcing the law. On the other hand, charges under Penal Code 148(a) make it unlawful to resist arrest by a police officer.
Penalties for Resisting an Executive Officer
Resisting an executive officer in California is a wobbler offense. If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, possible punishment:
- Misdemeanor or summary probation.
- A maximum of one year of custody in county jail.
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
If you’re charged with a felony, the potential penalties include:
- Formal or felony probation.
- A maximum of three years of custody in county jail.
- A maximum fine of $10,000.
A conviction under Penal Code 69 can also result in negative immigration consequences. Under United States immigration laws, some California criminal convictions can lead to the deportation of non-citizens. It can also lead to being marked inadmissible in the United States.
Effect of Penal Code 69 on Your Gun Rights
A conviction for PC 69 violation might have a detrimental effect on the convicted party’s gun right. Under California laws, convicted felons cannot acquire or possess a gun in California. This means that if the prosecutor charges a violation of this statute as a felony and you’re convicted, then you would have to give up your gun possession and ownership rights.
Expungement for Penal Code 69 Conviction
A person convicted under this Penal Code 69 can seek expungement. An expungement is a release of an individual from all penalties and disabilities arising out of the conviction. Once your records have been expunged, it means that the court will erase your legal records of arrest from the public domain. Therefore, employers cannot find your name in the criminal records once they do a background check on you.
As a basic rule, Penal Code 1203.4 authorizes expungement for a felony or misdemeanor offense applicant after completing probation. You should also not be currently charged with a criminal offense, serving a sentence, or on probation. Therefore, if you complete your probation successfully or serve your jail term, you can have your crime expunged.
Legal Defense Strategies for Violating Penal Code 69
When you’ve been charged under Penal Code 69, you can adopt several defense strategies that will help you dismiss or reduce your charges to less severe ones. Below are some of the common legal defenses that can apply in your situation.
Unlawful Conduct from the Officer
For a defendant to be found guilty under this statute, an officer must be performing lawful duties. This is a solid legal defense strategy as long as the accused can prove that the executive officer was not performing his or her lawful duties during the alleged interference.
In the case of a peace officer, the unlawful performance of duties includes the following:
- Unlawful detaining or arresting someone else.
- Using excessive or unreasonable force while performing your duties.
While your attorney uses this defense, it would be a smart idea to file a pitchess motion. In a pitchess motion, the defendant usually requests information about the officer’s personnel file. If it’s discovered that there is an allegation of the official’s misconduct, your attorney can use this to impeach the officer’s credibility. This, in turn, will help you reduce or dismiss your charges.
If you resist an executive officer who was using excessive force against you, you can exercise your right to defend yourself as per the provision of California’s self-defense laws. These laws protect defendants as long as their conduct was used under reasonable circumstances.
No Executive Officer
Since Penal Code 69 applies only to executive officers, it means that you can raise a defense strategy if the person involved wasn’t an executive officer. Executive officers, especially police officers, must formally introduce themselves to you before an arrest. Therefore, if you prove that the person alleged to resist or prevent the official duties isn’t an executive officer, the court will dismiss your case.
Your Threats Were Not intended to Deter or Prevent an Officer from Doing His or Her Job
Sometimes you can prevent an executive officer from executing official duties after an executive officer has completed his or her official duties. For instance, if you threaten a judge that you’ll kick his ass after convicting you, this does not necessarily mean that you are guilty of violating Penal Code 69. Instead, you will likely be charged with a less severe crime like California Penal Code 422: Criminal threats.
You Didn’t Knowingly Threaten the Executive Official
Numerous reasons can prove that you didn’t knowingly threaten an executive official. For instance, lack of knowledge about the executive officer status, the lawful duty executed by the official, and being legally incapacitated can prove this fact.
For instance, if you were under severe drug incapacitation, were arrested, and threatened the police officer in the course of the arrest, there are chances that your allegations will be dismissed and possibly charged with one that attracts less severe consequences.
If you feel that your Penal Code 69 is based on a false accusation, your attorney should help you find evidence to disprove these claims and present relevant evidence in court.
Please note, you cannot manage to adopt reliable legal defense strategies unless you are out of police custody. Being out of police custody provides the right environment to assess the nature of your case and adopt the right legal defense strategies. That’s why it’s recommendable to seek help from a professional bail bonds company to work for your release in the shortest time possible.
Prove that You Were Photographing or Recording the Executive Officer
No law prohibits people from recording or photographing an executive officer, especially when there is a strong belief that their actions are unlawful. Therefore, if your arrest and accusations are based on this kind of action, the court should dismiss the charges.
Use of Civil Remedies in a False Arrest
If you were injured when an executive officer was acting unlawful, you could file a civil lawsuit for your false arrest and violation of the United States Code 1983. Below is a breakdown of these two types of civil lawsuits.
False arrest refers to an arrest and detaining without consent and legal authority. In a false arrest, the injured defendant can bring a civil lawsuit against the police and obtain compensation for their loss.
To succeed in this type of civil lawsuit, you must prove that the police arrest was unwarranted, you were harmed, and the officer’s conduct was a substantial factor in harming you.
Success in a civil lawsuit can have you obtain compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Section 1983 Claims
United States Code Section 1983 allows Americans to sue executive officials in court if they violate other people's constitutional rights. These constitutional rights include those that are protected under the Fourth and Eight United States constitutional amendment.
Therefore, if an executive officer violates any of the rights provided under these amendments, you can try to bring a civil suit to recover damages caused by the officer. A plaintiff bringing this kind of suit can recover both compensatory or punitive damages.
Laws Related to Penal Code 69
There are three specific laws related to resisting an executive officer. These includes:
- Penal Code 243 - Battery on a Peace Officer.
- Vehicle Code 2800.1- Evading a police officer.
- Penal Code 422 - Criminal Threats.
1. Battery on a Peace Officer, Penal Code 243
Penal Code 243 makes it a crime to unlawful touch or harm a police officer offensively while the officers are engaged in their official duties. Please note that this offense is limited to police officers, whereas Penal Code 69 has broader topics that include executive officers.
Penalties for Battery on a Peace Officer
Violation of Penal Code 243 is a misdemeanor punishable by:
- Custody in county jail for a maximum of one year.
- A maximum fine of $2,000.
2. Vehicle Code 2800.1, Evading a Police Officer
Under Vehicle Code 2800.1, it’s a crime to willfully attempt to flee from a police officer pursuing you in a car or bicycle. This statute is different from Penal Code 69 since it involves a police officer and is limited to a pattern of trying to flee a cop in a car or a bike.
Penalties for Evading a Police Officer
Violation of Vehicle Code 2800.1 is a misdemeanor. The crime is punishable by:
- Custody in county jail for a maximum of one year.
- A maximum fine of $1,000.
3. Criminal Threats, California Penal Code 422
Under Penal Code 422, it’s a crime to make a criminal threat to someone else. You will be considered to have made a criminal threat when you do the following:
- Threatens to kill or physically harm another person.
- That person feared for his or her safety or the safety of an immediate family member.
Penal Code 422 involves a broader set of people and is not limited to a police officer or an executive officer. However, making criminal threats on an executive officer can have you arrested and charged under this statute.
Penalties for Criminal Threats
Making criminal threats on another person is a wobbler. A misdemeanor can lead to one year of custody in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
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Flexible Payment Options and Fees
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24 Hour Services
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