A resisting arrest charge can encompass a wide range of acts by a person.  The charge of “resisting arrest” is misleading because a person does not have to resist an officer to be charged with it.  The Penal Code section for this crime makes the acts of resisting, obstructing, and delaying an officer a criminal offense.  In addition, a person can be charged with this section when s/he resists, delays or obstructs any public officer or emergency medical technician.

Resisting arrest is often charged in addition to another charge or charges.  This charge is a misdemeanor and can be more serious than the original offense for which the officer made contact with you. Getting legal representation as soon as possible may help you keep this offense off your criminal record.  Oftentimes the officer will overcharge a person and a criminal defense lawyer can bargain with the District Attorney to reduce or dismiss this charge.  Chico Criminal Defense Lawyer Matthew Luzaich has successfully fought this charge and provides free legal consultations to discuss your unique case.  Call today for a free consultation.

The Statute(s)

Penal Code § 148(a)(1): Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician, as defined in Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code, 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.

The Elements

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

  1. was (a/an) (peace officer/public officer/emergency medical technician) lawfully performing or attempting to perform (his/her) duties as a (peace officer/public officer/emergency medical technician);
  2. The defendant willfully (resisted[,]/ [or] obstructed[,]/ [or] delayed) in the performance or attempted performance of those duties; AND
  3. When the defendant acted, (he/she) knew, or reasonably should have known, that was (a/an) (peace officer/public officer/emergency medical technician) performing or attempting to perform (his/her) duties. (CALCRIM No. 2656)


Resisting arrest, delaying, or obstructing an officer/ EMT is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and/ or a fine of up to $1000.00.  In addition, or in substitute for, the court may grant probation for three years.  Community service may be ordered as well.


Common defenses to this crime include:

  1. Constitutional violations by the officer
  2. Use of excessive force
  3. Failure to satisfy one or more of the elements of the crime
  4. You had a right to do what you did
  5. False accusations
  6. Self-defense

Miscellaneous Information

Video Evidence

Today virtually every new phone has the capability of recording video.  In cases where it is the officer’s word versus the defendant’s, sometimes the only way to disprove what the officer claims is through the use of video evidence.

Officers can and do exaggerate in reports (either intentionally or unintentionally), and when that happens, and video exists to disprove the officer’s claim, it is the criminal defense lawyer’s job to bring forth the evidence exonerating a client to the District Attorney.  Sometimes the officer’s own camera will capture audio and/ or video of the incident, and it serves as the client’s only defense to an otherwise he said-she said situation.  Phones, for this reason have become an invaluable asset to the defense attorney’s tool belt.

What You Should Do

Call Chico Criminal Defense Lawyer Matthew Luzaich for a free legal consultation.  The possible trauma you experienced being arrested and charged with this offense is now going to be followed by criminal court proceedings against you.  Speaking with a lawyer today to learn about your options may ease some of your stress.

Deciding to let a professional handle your case for you without you having to go to court may save you time, energy, and may result in a better outcome for you.  You have nothing to lose speaking with an experienced professional.  Call today.

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