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Los Angeles Resisting Arrest Defense Attorneys


We Protect Those Charged With Resisting Arrest in Los Angeles

A charge of resisting arrest in California is a crime that can earn you jail time, fines, or both. A conviction for resisting arrest can affect you for the rest of your life by limiting your eligibility for quality employment. There are, however, legal defenses for such a charge. With an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney by your side, there may be a good chance for acquittal or having the charges dropped, with no further damage to your life and future.

At Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, our top-rated LA criminal defense attorneys handle many challenging, high-profile, and celebrity cases. We understand the need for discretion, and we’re here to protect your rights and defend your reputation. Our excellent win-loss ratio has earned us a reputation as tenacious, proven, and compassionate attorneys who take each case personally. If you need a criminal defense attorney with years of expertise, call us at (213) 688-0460.

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What is Resisting Arrest in California?

Resisting arrest is covered in California Penal Code 148 which states:

"Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician…in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment."

In other words, resisting arrest is considered an act of resistance toward a peace officer who is attempting to perform the duty of his job. The same offense applies for impeding or resisting an EMT or any other public officer performing their duty. PC 148 provides for a broad interpretation, and resisting arrest may not only include in-person physical resistance. Some common examples of charges filed for resisting arrest include:

  • Fleeing the scene of a crime
  • Physically struggling against police officers in their attempt to arrest you
  • Going “limp” and forcing officers to carry or drag you
  • Providing false identification to avoid arrest
  • Attempting to stop an officer from arresting another

However, a police offer may not arrest you for no reason. There are certain elements that must be present for a lawful conviction. The prosecution must be able to prove that:

  • The alleged victim was an officer of the law or an EMT attempting to lawfully perform their official duties
  • You intentionally delayed, resisted, or in some other way obstructed the victim from doing their duties
  • When you resisted, it was already made clear to you that the victim was an officer or an EMT

Without these three components the charge of resisted arrest is not legitimate, and the prosecution will not be able to successfully convict you. This means that if your initial arrest was not legal, you did not intend to resist, or you were unaware the officer in question was an officer of the law, you should not have been charged with resisting arrest.

Furthermore, certain acts, such as shouting or swearing at an officer, are not grounds for a resisted arrest charge. Courts have often maintained that speaking rudely to an officer is completely legal and falls within the first amendment.

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The Penalties for Resisting Arrest

In California, resisting arrest is considered a wobbler. That means it could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The punishments you may face will depend heavily on whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. It is most often charged as a misdemeanor which can carry penalties including:

  • Up to a year in county jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000

However, you may be charged with a felony if you allegedly took or attempted to take an officer’s firearm or weapon, or if you used a weapon while resisting the arrest. Using a weapon or threatening to use a weapon against an officer, on top of making your resisted arrest charge a felony, may also result in you being charged with battery, which carries heavy penalties as well.

Felony resisting arrest penalties may include:

  • Up to three years in county jail
  • A fine of up to $10,000

While these penalties may be harsh, with a reputable criminal defense attorney by your side, there are many viable defenses you may use to win your case.

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Common Defenses for Resisting Arrest

Unfortunately, charges of resisting arrest are often used by police to hide misconduct or justify excessive use of force or other actions. Some officers have accused people of resisting arrest as a “punishment” for disrespecting them, threatened the charge to make a situation look more dangerous, or blame a defendant for his or her injuries. That is why remembering the three required components of a lawful resisting arrest charge is so important. You must have acted intentionally, known the alleged victim was an officer or EMT, and the alleged victim must have been attempting to perform their official duties.

Thankfully, there are several viable defenses for a charge of resisting arrest, which include:

  • You did not act willfully: If we can prove that your interference with an arrest was accidental, the charges may be dropped. Such a defense is most often applied in cases where you are charged with interfering in the arrest of another.
  • You were falsely accused: Unfortunately, our justice system is still rife with bigotry and human bias, and it isn’t uncommon for people to be arrested due to spite, racism, or countless other negative emotions. In such cases, a false accusation is a valid legal defense against a charge of resisting arrest.
  • You were arrested without probable cause: If we can prove that the officer did not have sufficient probable cause to arrest you, anything following the arrest is inadmissible, and the charges can be dropped.

There are several viable defenses for a charge of resisting arrest, which include:

  • You did not act willfully: If we can prove that your interference with an arrest was accidental, the charges may be dropped. Such a defense is most often applied in cases where you are charged for interfering in the arrest of another.
  • You were falsely accused: Unfortunately, our justice system is still rife with bigotry and human reaction, and it isn’t uncommon for people to be arrested due to spite, racism, or countless other negative emotions. In such cases, a false accusation is a valid legal defense against a charge of resisting arrest.
  • You were arrested without probable cause: If we can prove that the officer did not have sufficient probable cause to arrest you, anything following the arrest is inadmissible, and the charges can be dropped.

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Contact Us Today

If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest, retaining the services of a qualified criminal defense attorney can make the difference between spending a year in jail and walking free. At Werksman Jackson & Quin LLP, we specialize in handling cases that have a significant impact on the lives of our clients. We work to resolve our cases quickly, quietly, and with the least amount of attention possible. Our team is known for the attention to detail we put on every case, and our ability to develop an effective defense strategy, based on the facts.

Many of our cases are resolved with charges dropped with no further legal ramifications. Our trial lawyers will manage your case with excellent legal skills, from start to finish. We offer a free initial consultation, and our clients receive the same service from our team that we provide to celebrities, CEOs, and countless other prominent Angelinos. Contact us today at (213) 688-0460 to get started.

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Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today
Phone: (213) 688-0460
Fax: (213) 624-1942

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