According to California Penal Code Section 69 resisting an executive officer is illegal.
Furthermore, it is illegal to attempt, by means of any threat or violence, to prevent or deter an executive officer from performing his duty or intentionally resist, by the use of violence or force, such officer in performance of his duty.
Resisting Arrest under PC Section 148(a)
Though the crime is closely related to the crime of resisting arrest under PC Section 148(a), resisting an executive officer is considered a much more serious crime in California. Unlike resisting arrest PC 69, resisting an executive officer requires actual violence or a threat of violence.
Resisting an Executive Officer Covers Two Different Offenses
Resisting an Executive Officer covers two different offenses including
- Intentionally and willfully attempting to prevent or deter an executive officer from performing his duties and
- Resisting an executive officer in the performance of his duties by using violence or force.
Elements of the Crimes
Each of the two crimes has a separate set of elements that the prosecution must establish to convict the defendant.
The elements of attempting to deter an executive officer are the following:
- Defendant unlawfully used violence or force for preventing or deterring an executive officer from performing his lawful duties
- Defendant had intention to prevent or deter the executive officer from performing his duties
The elements of resisting an executive officer in the performance of his duties by using violence or force are the following:
- Defendant used force to resist an officer
- The executive officer was performing his lawful duty at the time
- Defendant was aware that the executive officer was performing his duty
Violence or Force Under Penal Code Section 69
For purposes of PC Section 69, force does not need to cause an injury or harm to a person.
Therefore, even touching in an offensive or rude manner will be enough to constitute violence. However, in order for violence to be a PC Section 69 violation, it must actually deter or prevent an officer from performing his lawful duty.
What is An Executive Officer?
An Executive Officer is any governmental official who is authorized to use his discretion to carry out a lawful duty.
Examples of Executive Officers
Examples of executive officers include:
- Law enforcement officers such as police officers sheriff’s deputies
- Elected officials
- District attorneys
- Public defenders
The lawful duties of an executive officer’s are those ones that he is tasked with performing as a requirement of his profession.
Defenses for California Penal Code 69 Charges
Defenses for California Penal Code 69 charges include the following
For convicting defendant of this crime, the prosecutor must prove that he indented to resist or prevent the executive officer from performing his duties. Thus, it a valid defense if there is no evidence that shows defendant’s intention when he acted in such manner.
In case the defendant was attempting to prevent an executive officer’s conduct that was unlawful, he can’t be found guilty of the offense, as executive officer is not protected while performing unlawful or illegal conduct.
In case the executive officer was using illegal force against defendant, he was entitled to exercise his right to defend himself by using reasonable force.
Penalties for Violating California Penal Code Section 69
In California a crime of resisting an executive officer is a “wobbler” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the case circumstances and defendant’s criminal history.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Penal Code 69 Conviction
Penalties for misdemeanor Penal Code 69 conviction are the following:
- Up to one year in a county jail
- A fine up to maximum $10,000
Penalties for Felony Penal Code 69 Conviction
Penalties for Felony Penal Code 69 conviction are the following:
- 16 months, two or three years in a county jail
- A fine up to maximum $10,000
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