In Southern California, we see police car chases seemingly every day. Criminal suspects attempt to dodge the police, and they often try to run away on foot once their vehicle is rendered useless. When you see this occur, you may think it is considered resisting arrest, but it is actually the separate crime of evading a police officer.
So what is the difference between these two crimes?
Resisting Arrest (PC 148)
Under California Penal Code Section 148, you are guilty of resisting arrest if you willfully resist, delay or otherwise obstruct a law enforcement officer or emergency medical technician while he or she is performing his or her duties.
There are a number of ways you could be charged with this crime, but the most common is resisting arrest. If police are trying to arrest you and you struggle or combat them in any way, you are not allowing them to perform their job duties, and you could be charged with resisting arrest.
Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor in California. If you are convicted, you face up to 364 days in county jail and fines of up to $1,000 fine. You could face up to three years in jail if your case involves more serious actions.
Evading a Police Officer (CVC 2800.1)
Under California Vehicle Code Section 2800.1, it is a crime to willfully evade or flee law enforcement while driving a vehicle.
In order to convict you of this crime, the prosecution must prove that you:
- Were driving a vehicle when an officer was pursuing you
- Were in the vehicle when you willfully fled, and
- Law enforcement officers correctly identified themselves and their vehicle when attempting to pull you over
Evading a police officer is a misdemeanor crime in California. If you are convicted, you face up to 364 days in county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. This punishment is essentially the same as resisting arrest.
However, under California Vehicle Code Section 2800.2, you could face felony evading charges if you displayed a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” while evading the police. The punishment for felony evading is up to three years in state prison.
Additionally, evading the police charges often are coupled with charges of resisting arrest, so you could face two separate criminal charges if you are evade the police.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love has been accused of resisting arrest or evading the police, you should contact a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our criminal defense attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing serious criminal charges. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need and we can help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich attorney wherever you work or live.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.