Most people associate the term "resisting arrest" as a physical altercation with an officer (which is actually chargeable as a felony under Penal Code § 69). However, the Penal Code section for resisting arrest, § 148, encompasses criminal conduct that is broader than just resisting arrest. In fact, an individual can be charged with violating § 148 by willfully obstructing, resisting or delaying a public officer or peace officer in the lawful discharge of his or her duties. Public and peace officers, include cops, firefighter, and even EMT's.
Misdemeanor Resisting Arrest: The Basics
Misdemeanor resisting arrest can be charged with no evidence of violence undertaken by the defendant whatsoever. For example, the crime of resisting arrest is frequently charged when an individual walks or runs away from an officer who is attempting to detain that individual. Another common example of non-violent resisting arrest is when an individual is ordered to leave a particular location by the officer and that individual either refuses to comply or does not comply fast enough. Too often, the district attorney's office charges an individual with "resisting arrest" for not consenting to allow the police into their home - which oftentimes, that individual has every right to do.
A person who is charged under § 148 with obstructing, resisting or delaying a public or peace officer in the lawful performance of their duties faces up to a year in the county jail and a $1,000 fine, or both. It is not uncommon for an officer to arrest an individual for allegedly resisting arrest in order to cover up for a questionable detention or because that person "failed the attitude test." Unfortunately, district attorney's offices frequently back the officer and charge the individual with violating Penal Code § 148.
At Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, we are well versed with the officer's and district attorney's motivations when charging a violation of § 148. Often times, after reading the police report and interviewing our client, we will be able to determine whether there is a defense to the charge, i.e., was the public or peace officer acting in the lawful performance of their duties. Other times, we must file motions with the court, such as a Pitchess motion (discovering previous complaints against the officer) and a motion to suppress evidence (questioning the lawful basis of the search or seizure) in order to more effectively prepare and present your defense.
Hire Attorneys that Deliver Results
The best way to defend yourself against a charge of resisting arrest is to retain the intelligent and aggressive Redwood City, San Mateo County criminal defense attorneys at Ahmed & Sukaram. With an office in Oakland, Alameda County, as well, we know how different police departments and district attorney's offices prosecute these cases. Trust the Bay Area criminal defense firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law, to help you avoid an unjust conviction.