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Penal Code Section 148(a) Resisting Arrest

Penal Code 148(a) Resisting Arrest

Penal Code §148(a) Resisting Arrest, Abuse of Power, Police Brutality 

Penal Code section 148(a) Resisting Arrest aims to secure the physical wellbeing of officers, and encourages only compelling, legally applicable examinations of civilians. Lamentably, it isn’t unprecedented for some officers to abuse this statute by rebuffing people who show any little sign of disobedience towards the officer. This is a serious and recurring issue all throughout California, with some counties and cities experiencing more of this abuse of power than others. For instance, Ventura county law enforcers are infamous for incarcerating civilians if the officer senses even the slightest amount of hesitation from the civilian. In many situations, this results in a gross and negligent abuse of power, originating from misinterpreted ideas of what the Penal Code 148(a) entails.

How the Penal Code 148(a)(1) Can Be Violated

According to Penal Code 148(a)(1), any person who “obstinately” opposes or delays any law enforcement agent is blameworthy of a crime. They must demonstrate the following past a sensible uncertainty:

  1. The officer who was on duty felt that they had reasonable suspicion or probable cause to investigate further.
  2. The defendant stubbornly disobeyed the officer after he/she was given specific rules to follow.
  3. The defendant knew, or should have known, that they were dealing with an officer.

Most importantly, there does not need to be an intention of hurting the officer, a mere demonstration of knowingly resisting an officer is sufficient. As such, a prosecutor does not have to demonstrate that the defendant expected to commit a crime or even to cause any injury to the officer. Taking all of these elements into consideration, it can become murky and difficult to understand where to draw the line between officer aggression and defendant resistance. To help illustrate these, here are just a few examples:

Examples of Penal Code Section 148(a)(1) Violations:

  1. Case of Unlawfully Deferring an Officer: An officer wants to meet with a witness to a crime. The defendant keeps on interfering with the officer’s meeting with the witness, even though they were told not to do so. In this case, the officer may have reasonable justification to arrest the defendant for interfering.
  2. Case of Opposing Officer: An officer responds to a house call with alleged abusive behavior. After establishing that the homeowner has harassed his spouse, the officer says to him that he will be taken into custody for further questioning. The homeowner battles frantically to avoid arrest. He is in violation of the Penal Code Section 148(a) and therefore is subject to detainment.
  3. Case of Blocking Officer: Officers capture a criminal suspect and place him inside a police vehicle. The defendant approaches the vehicle and tries to speak with the captured individual. Various officers advise the defendant to step away from the watch vehicle, however he does not comply. The officers are occupied with investigating the scene of the crime and performing other authority obligations as a result of the defendant’s refusal to comply with their legal commands. The defendant as, therefore, interfered and is in violation of the law.

How a Glendale Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Out

There are several avenues of defense that a skilled Glendale criminal defense attorney will utilize in order to defend their client in situations of unlawful arrest. A few examples of these defenses include: the use of excessive force or police brutality, acting in self-defense, or being wrongfully accused of a crime. Which path is best for your particular case is something your lawyer will be able to determine with you. If you feel that you or a loved one have experienced a wrongful accusation of violating Penal Code 148(a), or been the victim of police brutality or misconduct, please give us a call at (310) 943-1171 to speak to a defense attorney specialist, or send us an email with a description of your case at [email protected].


KAASS LAW is authorized to practice law in California. The above content is intended for California residents only. This content provides only general information which may or may not reflect current legal developments. KAASS LAW expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any of the contents of this website. The above content DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship. KAASS LAW does not represent you unless you have expressly retained KAASS LAW in person at the KAASS LAW office.

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