Resisting Arrest in California

Getting arrested can be a frightening, stressful, confusing, or otherwise emotionally overwhelming experience. It is not uncommon for someone to try to run away or prevent the arrest from going through. 

Unfortunately, if you willfully resist, delay, or obstruct any law enforcement official or emergency medical personnel from performing their lawful duties, you could be charged with “resisting arrest” in California. You could also be charged with resisting arrest for preventing an officer from going to a crime or crash scene, interfering with police while they are monitoring a detained suspect, or obstructing the police from interviewing a witness of a crime. 

Resisting arrest in California is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail term of one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, it is possible the judge may sentence you to probation, in lieu of jail time. 

On the other hand, if you intentionally and unlawfully try to deter or prevent an executive officer (e.g., police officer, judge, government official, etc.) from performing his lawful duty by using force, violence, or threats, you could be charged with “resisting an executive officer.” This offense is considered a wobbler, which means it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. 

Lastly, if you intentionally and unlawfully touch a police officer or protected official in a harmful or offensive manner while the official is performing his/her duties, you could be charged with “battery on a peace officer.” This offense is a misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a maximum fine of $2,000. 

Remember, you could be charged with resisting arrest on top of the original charges you were arrested for. If you are being arrested, the best course of action immediately following being held in custody is to contact a criminal defense attorney. 

If you have been arrested in Santa Barbara, call Appel & Morse at (805) 467-6060 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free initial consultation. Let two former prosecutors protect your rights and freedom! 

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