Resisting an Executive Officer in Performance of Duty – California Penal Code 69 PC
Under California Penal Code Section 69, it is a crime to resist an executive officer in performance of his or her duty. Although it is similar to the crime of resisting arrest (California Penal Code Section 148(a)), resisting an executive officer is a much more serious crime in California.
Under California Penal Code 69, resisting an executive officer is defined as:
- A willful and unlawful attempt, by means of any threat or violence, to deter or prevent an executive officer from performing his or her lawful duty; or
- The use of force or violence to resist an executive officer in the performance of his or her lawful duty.
Executive Officer: An executive officer is any public employee who is authorized to use his or her own discretion to carry out his or her lawful duties. The range of persons included in this definition is much broader than just law enforcement personnel such as police officers or sheriff’s deputies. Judges, district attorneys, public defenders, and elected officials are also considered executive officers.
Lawful Duties: The executive officer’s lawful duties are those duties that he or she is tasked with performing as a requirement of his or her profession. For example, a district attorney has the discretion whether or not to press charges in a criminal case. Threatening to use violence in order to deter the district attorney from pressing charges in a criminal case would therefore be a crime under this section.
Prosecution for PC 69 Charges
As noted above, a violation of California Penal Code 69 can occur in two forms: preventing or deterring an executive officer from performing his or her duties, or resisting the officer while he or she is performing those duties.
Each of the two parts of this crime has a separate set of elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of this crime. In order to convict you of attempting to deter an executive officer, the prosecution must prove that:
- You willfully and unlawfully used violence and/or threat of violence to try to prevent or deter an executive officer from performing his or her lawful duty; and
- When you acted, you intended to prevent or deter the executive officer from performing his or her lawful duty.1
In order to convict you of resisting an executive officer through the use of force or violence while the officer is engaged in his or her duties, the prosecution must prove that:
- You unlawfully used force or violence to resist an executive officer;
- When you acted, the executive officer was performing his or her lawful duty; and
- When you acted, you knew the executive officer was performing his or her duty.2
Punishment for Resisting an Executive Officer
If you are convicted of this crime, you face serious consequences. Resisting an executive officer is a crime a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in California. If you are convicted of a felony, you face:
- 16 months, or two or three years in county jail;
- A maximum fine of $10,000; or
- Both jail and fine.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you face:
- Up to 364 days in county jail;
- A maximum fine of $10,000; or
- Both jail and fine.
Defenses to a Charge of Resisting an Executive Officer
If you are being charged with resisting an executive officer under California Penal Code Section 69, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to employ several defenses on your behalf. Some of these defenses include:
- No intent. In order to convict you of this crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had intent to resist or prevent the executive officer from performing his or her duties. Thus, your lawyer can use this as a valid defense to argue that there is no evidence that shows you had intent to do so when you acted in such a manner.
- Unlawful duties. In order for you to be convicted of resisting an executive officer, the prosecution must prove that you prevented the executive officer from performing his or her lawful duties. Thus, your attorney can argue that the officer was attempting to perform his or her duties in an unlawful In other words, executive officers are not protected when performing illegal or unlawful conduct.3
- False accusations. If you feel you have been charged with resisting an executive officer based upon false accusations, a skilled attorney may be able to find evidence to disprove these claims and present this evidence in court.
Frequently Asked Questions
At Wallin & Klarich, we often receive questions from clients regarding their cases. Here are some common questions we receive from those facing charges of resisting an executive officer:
(1) How is resisting an executive officer different from resisting arrest?
The crime of resisting an executive officer includes situations that are not related to your arrest, such as interfering with a judge in performance of his or her duties in a case, or attempting to convince a prosecutor to dismiss a case.
(2) Can I be convicted for making a threat that I could not have carried out?
Yes. Unlike assault cases where the defendant must have the apparent immediate ability to act on any verbal threat, threats made against an executive officer do not have to be immediate, and the defendant need not show any ability to carry out the threat.
(3) The executive officer came into my home without a warrant. Can I be convicted of resisting an executive officer?
Possibly. It is important to hire a skilled attorney when an executive officer entered your home. An executive officer may enter your home lawfully despite not having a search warrant. In such situations, you could be convicted for resisting an executive officer.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are facing charges for resisting an executive officer, you will need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to fight on your behalf. At Wallin & Klarich, our team of attorneys and legal professionals has been successfully defending clients against criminal charges for over 40 years. We work tirelessly and with dedication to help our clients obtain the best possible outcome in every case. We can help you, too.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. CALCRIM No. 2651. Trying to Prevent an Executive Officer From Performing Duty (Pen. Code § 69).↩
2. CALCRIM No. 2652. Resisting an Executive Officer in Performance of Duty (Pen. Code § 69).↩
3. People v. Gonzalez (1990) 51 Cal.3d 1179, 1217, 275 Cal.Rptr. 729, 800 P.2d 1159↩