35+ Years Criminal Defense Experience in California


Resisting Arrest in California – PC 148: Defenses

Possible Defenses to a Resisting Arrest Charge

When charged with a potentially serious crime such as resisting arrest, you need a California criminal defense attorney that will fight for you using an effective defense strategy.

There are several defenses available that could result in a dismissal or reduction of your charge. Here are some successful defenses that our lawyers at Wallin & Klarich can raise on your behalf:

The Arrest was Unlawful

Penal Code 148 PC defenses: unnlawful arrest or detention
If you arrest was unlawful, our attorneys may present this to the court in your defense.

If the arrest or detention was unlawful, you may have a defense to a charge of resisting arrest. A peace officer is not lawfully performing his duties if he is unlawfully restraining or detaining someone, or using unreasonable or excessive force in his or her duties. Therefore, if the officer used excessive force to effectuate an arrest, initiated an arrest that was not based on probable cause, or conducted a warrantless and unannounced entry of your home, your Wallin & Klarich defense attorney can argue that the arrest was unlawful and therefore you cannot be convicted of this offense.

For example: You are watching Sunday night football at your home when your front door is suddenly broken open and a swarm of police officers surround you and your family. One of the officers attempts to place you in handcuffs but you physically resist until several other officers are able to subdue you and place you under arrest. Although you resisted the officer’s attempt to place you in handcuffs, the arrest itself may have been unlawful because the police did not have a valid search warrant nor did they knock and announce their presence. Since the arrest itself was illegal, you cannot be convicted of resisting an unlawful arrest.

Your Act was in Self-Defense

You are justified in resisting an arrest if you can show that you were acting in self-defense. To assert this defense, you must prove that you reasonably believed the officer was using excessive force and that your actions were necessary in order to avoid death or serious bodily injury. You must also prove that you used no more force than necessary to defend against the threat of death or serious bodily injury. This is an objective standard in which the jury will determine whether a reasonable person in your circumstances would have believed that self-defense was necessary and reasonable. If a reasonable person would have reacted in the same way, you cannot be convicted of resisting arrest.

For example: A police officer attempts to place you under arrest for an outstanding warrant. Before the officer places you in handcuffs, he pushes you to the ground and begins to beat you with his baton for no apparent reason. In order to defend yourself against this unprovoked attack, you kick the officer in the face and break his nose. Since the officer was using excessive force to effectuate the arrest and you had a reasonable belief that your actions were necessary to avoid serious injury, your attorney can argue that your actions were justified and therefore you should not be convicted of resisting arrest.

You Did Not Reasonably Know that the Officer was Performing His or Her Duties

Defense in a resisting arrest case PC 148
Was the arresting officer in street clothing? Did the officer reveal his or her identity?

In order to convict you of resisting arrest under California Penal Code 148 PC, you must have known or reasonably should have known that the officer was engaged in the performance of his or her duties.

This is an objective standard in which the jury must find that a reasonable person in your position would have known this fact. If the officer was dressed in “street clothing,” did not reveal his identity or purpose, or gave no indication that he was a law enforcement officer, your attorney can argue that you could not have known that he was engaged in the performance of his duties.

For example: You are walking down the street when a man dressed in jeans, a sweatshirt and a baseball cap approaches you. The man suddenly pulls out a firearm, points it at you and tells you to get on the ground. Unaware that the man is an undercover police officer, you knock the gun out of his hand and run away. Since the undercover officer never revealed his identity and a reasonable person would not be able to discern that he was a police officer based on his appearance, you could not have reasonably known that he was an officer engaged in the performance of his duties.

You Did not Resist Arrest

You may have been charged with resisting arrest under California Penal Code 148 (a) for actions that did not amount to resisting, delaying or obstructing the officer in the performance of his or her duties. Although simply being rude or uncooperative during the course of an arrest or investigation will not amount to the sort of conduct required to convict you of this offense, the arresting officer might embellish what actually happened as a means to punish your dismissive, although perfectly legal, behavior. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will help you avoid these unnecessary charges by conducting an independent investigation of the facts in order to prove your innocence.

California Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

Wallin & Klarich PC 148 defense attorneys
Let us fight on your behalf. Call to speak to one of our attorneys today.

If you are facing charges of resisting arrest under Penal Code 148 PC and are looking for a California criminal defense lawyer to represent you, Wallin & Klarich can help.

With over 30 years of experience and offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Ventura, Victorville and West Covina, our highly skilled and professional defense attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of the facts and passionately argue that your case should be dismissed.

Call us today at 877-4-NO-JAIL or fill out our client information form for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

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