California Penal Code 148 defines the crime of resisting arrest as obstructing an emergency medical technician or a police officer in the performance of their duties. Most people think that physically struggling with the police officers while attempting to evade an arrest is the only conduct that can prompt an arrest. However, there is a broad category of other behaviors resulting in an arrest and prosecution under PC 148.

Sometimes, resisting an arrest may be involuntary but will have severe consequences if you are convicted. It can be challenging to build a defense for your case when held in a jail cell. Fortunately, you can be released before court hearings by posting bail. Posting bail may be difficult, especially if your arrest happened abruptly and you don’t have enough money to pay in cash. If you are arrested for obstructing a police officer and are seeking to post bail in Southern California — Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, and San Bernardino, contact 24 Hour Online Bail Bonds.

Overview of CPC 148

Under California criminal law, you can be arrested and charged for violating CPC 148 if you obstruct a police officer from making an arrest or an emergency responder from performing their duties. The typical scene of resisting arrests evokes images of an individual struggling physically with a police officer who tries to arrest them. However, this is not the case. You can be arrested and convicted for this crime if you:

  • Resist delay or obstruct a police officer from making an arrest.
  • Act while a public officer is trying to perform their duty.
  • Interfere with a police officer's travel to a crime scene.
  • Try to interfere with an officer while they are monitoring a suspect in custody.
  • Obstruct authorities from interviewing a witness.

A slight physical contact could qualify as resisting arrest in California. Physical force or injury is not required to prove that you resisted an arrest.

What the Prosecutor Must Prove

A prosecutor must establish the following elements of crime before you are convicted for resisting arrest:

  • You willfully delayed, obstructed, or resisted a police officer or an emergency medical technician. A deliberate action means that you intended to do the actions that resulted in a violation of the law. It is essential to understand that an intention to commit a crime is not required to prove that you resisted arrest. When establishing your guilt under CPC 148, the prosecutor must establish that you did something that prevented the officer from performing their duties.
  • When you acted, the police officer or EMT was in the middle of performing their duty. For your actions to qualify as a violation of PC 148, the prosecution must prove that the police officer or emergency technician was trying to do their job or performing their lawful duties when you acted.
  • You knew or would have known that the individual was the police or emergency officer, and they were engaging in official duty. You can understand that an officer is carrying out an official duty if they are in uniform or actively pursuing a course in a police vehicle. You could not be convicted for resisting arrest if you did not know or should not have known that the person you were delaying or obstructing was a law enforcement officer.

With the rise of smartphones, many people are tempted to take photos or videos of law enforcement officers. Prosecutors often use Penal Code 148 to discourage people from photographing officers in an attempt to protect them. However, if the officer was in public and were not committing a crime, you cannot be arrested. Also, taking photographs of public officials is not a basis for a conviction for resisting arrest.

Penalties for Resisting Arrest in California

Violating California Penal Code 148 is a misdemeanor. If you face a conviction for resisting arrest, you will be subjected to these penalties:

  • A jail sentence of up to one year.
  • A fine of up to $10,000.

Sometimes, the court may allow you to serve a sentence out of jail by sentencing you to probation if you are found guilty of resisting arrest. A misdemeanor conviction often attracts a probation sentence of up to three years. An offer for informal probation instead of jail does not come automatically. Your attorney and the prosecutor will agree to probation as a plea bargain. Sometimes, you will serve a shorter jail sentence than the maximum and serve the rest on probation.

However, it is essential to understand that you can decide to reject probation and serve a whole sentence. When you are sentenced to probation, there are terms and conditions that you need to follow. Misdemeanor probation terms are often formulated with the court's discretion to fit your situation. Some common probation terms may include:

  • Payment of fines and court costs.
  • Refrain from drugs or alcohol while on probation.
  • Appear on all court dates.

If you violate the terms of probation, the court could terminate your probation and reinstate the original jail sentence.

Defenses Against Penal Code 148 Charges

If you face criminal charges for resisting arrest in California, you will not always face a conviction. There are legal defenses you can explore to defend the charges. It is vital to post bail and stay out of jail while waiting for your court date. This will allow you to meet with your attorney and build a strong defense. Some legal defenses to California Penal Code 148 charges include:

Lack of a Willful Act

Before you can be convicted for resisting arrest in California, the prosecutor must show that you acted willfully to delay or obstruct officers from performing their duties. Arguing that your actions were not willful is one of the most common defenses you can pursue in this case. An accident cannot cause you to be charged for this crime. The actual resistance or obstruction does not need to be an intended result of your conduct.

Sometimes a charge for resisting arrest could open up loopholes for other charges, which can be difficult to beat using this defense.

The Arrest Was Not Lawful

An unlawful arrest is an arrest that is not authorized by the law. A police officer must have a warrant or probable cause to arrest you for violating PC 148. Therefore, if you face criminal charges after an unlawful arrest, you can present this as a defense to your case. Also, if the arresting officer violated your rights during the arrest, you can use these facts to fight your charges for a lesser sentence.

Self Defense

In California, police officers are entitled to use the necessary force to accomplish an arrest under the circumstances. However, if an officer acts violently towards you in a not justifiable situation, you can protect yourself by resisting the arrest. For example, if a police officer tries to shoot you, you can fight back or run away. However, you cannot act violently against an officer unless they act violently first. 

You can defend against charges for resisting arrest by claiming that you acted in self-defense. However, you must have used a reasonable amount of force to resist an officer who acted unreasonably. Causing unnecessary injury in a police officer could attract charges for a battery of a peace officer.

False Accusations

Law enforcement officers may be quick to charge you with resisting arrest under CPC 148 simply because they do not like your attitude. Any form of contact with law enforcement authorities may be unpleasant s. Therefore, it is common that your reaction may not be the best when police attempt to question or arrest you. Having a bad attitude towards an officer does not always equal resisting arrest.

Sometimes, asking for an explanation of your crime or a reason for arrest could be considered resistance. Therefore, it is common that one could be falsely charged with resisting arrest. If police officers have mistaken facts or were trying to cover up misconduct, you can present this defense.

Plea Bargaining for PC 148

Since resisting arrest is related to other less serious offenses, you can opt to explore a plea bargain. A plea deal allows you to confess to another crime in exchange for a dismissal of your current charges. When you are charged with violating PC 148, you can plead guilty to either disturbing the peace or trespass. This helps ensure you receive less severe penalties.

Offenses Related Resisting Arrest in California

Some offenses are related to resisting arrest in California. The following crimes could be charged alongside or instead of resisting arrest:

Evading an Officer

It is a crime to flee from a police officer in California if they are pursuing you. If you willfully try to evade a police officer while driving a vehicle, you could face charges for violating VC 2800.1. When you try to resist an arrest by fleeing in a car, you can be charged with evading an officer instead of resisting arrest. To secure a conviction for evading an officer, the prosecution must prove that:

  • A police officer was pursuing you in a car
  • You were also driving a vehicle when you fled

If the prosecution can establish the above factors, you will be convicted of a misdemeanor and face a one-year jail sentence, a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both.

False Identification to a Police Officer

Being stopped by a police officer for questioning can be unsettling, and many people are tempted to give false identification to the officer. However, providing false identification to a police officer could attract charges under CPC 148.9. A conviction for this crime has long-lasting consequences. A conviction for providing false identification to the police requires the prosecution to prove that you knowingly and intentionally provided a fake name or name of another individual to the police to avoid a court process. Violation of California Penal Code 148.9 is charged as a misdemeanor and attracts the following penalties:

  • A jail sentence of up to one year.
  • A fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($1,000).

The Battery on a Peace Officer

California Penal Code 243 defines the battery of a peace officer as willful and unlawful touching of a peace officer offensively while the officer performs their duties. Since most defendants may contact a police officer while resisting arrest, the battery of a peace officer may be charged together with resisting arrest. Before you face a conviction under PC 243, the prosecutor must establish that:

  • The alleged victim was a peace officer in the middle of performing their duties. For this statute, peace officers may include police officers, lifeguards, animal control officers, private security guards, and emergency responders.
  • You willingly and unlawfully touched the officer.
  • You knew or should have known that the alleged victim was a peace officer.

Violation of PC 243 is a misdemeanor, and a conviction attracts a one-year jail sentence and fines of up to $2,000. It is crucial to understand that if you cause serious bodily injury to the peace officer, you could be charged with a felony which attracts more serious penalties. If you are arrested for violating PC 148 and PC 243, the amount of bail you require to be freed before trial may increase significantly.

Assault Offense

Assault is an unlawful attempt to inflict harm on another person, and most people couple up the crime of assault with battery. However, battery is the actual use of force or violence against another person. The prosecutor needs to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be found guilty of assault:

  • You acted in a manner that could result in the direct application of force to another person. For this statue, an application of force is any offensive or harmful touching. You can be charged with assault even when touching did not cause injury.
  • You acted willfully. You act willfully" if you do something intentionally, even when you did not intend to cause harm or break the law.
  • When you acted, you knew that your actions would lead a reasonable person to believe that the act would result in the application of force.
  • You could apply force to the alleged victim. You could not be convicted for assault if you could not use force on the alleged victim.

Under CPC 240, assault is a misdemeanor that is punishable by:

  • Misdemeanor probation
  • A jail sentence not exceeding six months
  • A $1,000 fine

If the alleged victim of assault is a law enforcement or emergency personnel, the penalties are steeper. Individuals who qualify under this category include police officers, firefighters, traffic officers, lifeguards, and emergency medical care providers. In this case, your jail sentence increases to one year.

Posting Bail after an Arrest for Resisting Arrest

When you are arrested for violating PC 148, you will remain in jail unless you can assure the court that you will appear from your criminal hearing. The assurance you give to the court is through posting a particular bail amount with the court clerk. Your bail amount is calculated by modifying the bail schedules based on your criminal history and the severity of your crime, among other factors. If you cannot afford to pay a cash bail, it would be wise to seek the services of a bail bond company.

Since it is difficult to raise the high bail amount required for resisting arrest, contact 24 Hour Online Bail Bonds for help. Our bail bond agents are often available 24 hours a day to help you with posting bail. Also, you can request bail bonds online or through the phone for quicker services. 24 Hour online Bail Bonds Accepts several bail payment options, including:

  • Personal checks.
  • MasterCard.
  • Available credit terms.
  • Local Checks.

Even though a bail bond is cheaper than paying the total amount in cash, sometimes it can be challenging to pay the premiums at once. However, this should not prevent you from seeking the services of a bail bond. If you cannot afford bail at the moment of arrest, you can still bail your loved one out with the help of a surety bond. You can explore different bail payment plans and financing options. A payment plan allows you to make a downpayment and pay the remaining amount in installments.

Seeking the services of a bail bondsman is essential since they are professional, and the details of your case and arrest will remain confidential. Also, bail bond agents handle many cases and will not judge you based on the reason for your arrest.

Find a Bail Bonds Agent Near Me

You commit the crime of resisting arrest when you obstruct, delay or interfere with an officer on duty. Also, preventing an emergency technician from doing their jobs could prompt an arrest for this crime. Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor that could attract a jail sentence and other legal penalties, as described in this article above. Spending time in jail while waiting for trial can be traumatizing. However, a defendant can post bail and go home while awaiting trial.

If you or your loved one face an arrest for violating CPC 148, you require the help of a bond agent to help you walk out from jail and attend court proceedings afterward. At 24 Hour Online Bail Bonds, we are available around the clock to our clients seeking bail bond services in Southern California — Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, and San Bernardino. We will post your bail at a small fee to ensure you do not spend more time in jail due to a lack of the funds to post bail. Call us today at 800-930-8999 and allow us to help you through the bail posting process.