Oakland Resisting Arrest Lawyer
If you are detained by law enforcement for the investigation of a crime it is important to exercise your rights in a way that is not construed as obstructing or resisting. There is a fine line between asserting your rights and complying with officer commands – it is critical that you know that difference. Obstructing law enforcement may not only lead to legal trouble in the form of resisting arrest charges, but if convicted, a conviction may land you in jail and can negatively affect your claims against law enforcement for excessive force or brutality.
If you are facing such allegations, seek an Oakland resisting arrest lawyer’s advice to mitigate and fight against the harsh penalties that can result from a resisting arrest conviction. Our team of capable defense attorneys are here to help you.
What Does it Mean to Resist an Arrest?
Under California law, the term “resisting arrest” is misleading because this violation encompasses a broad range of behaviors. California Penal Code §148(a) criminalizes any intentional act to resist, impinge, interfere, or prevent law enforcement, peace officers, and emergency medical technicians (EMT) from fulfilling their duties. This includes all their duties, not just arresting individuals. Almost any lawful conduct by these authorities falls within this broad application.
In other words, when interacting with these officials, the following actions may amount to a resisting arrest charge:
- Taking a swing
- Running and hiding
- Pushing the official
- Using or threatening violence
- Refusing to walk or cooperate when getting into a vehicle (e.g., going limp)
- Interfering with witness interviews
- Impeding access to persons in need of medical attention
As a knowledgeable lawyer could further explain, even if an arrest is not the objective of an interaction, any attempts to interfere with Oakland peace officers and EMTs as they execute their lawful duties could subject individuals to resisting arrest charges.
Officials Covered by Section 148
As noted above, section 148 protects public officials, peace officers, and EMTs. Cal. Penal Code §§ 830 through 831 detail who qualifies as a peace officer. Generally, peace officers enforce the law and include police, sheriffs, probation officers, and many other public servants. EMTs must meet one of the definitions under California Health and Safety Code §§ 1797.80 through 1797.84. While there are several levels of EMTs, they all have completed training and achieved certification in life support protocols.
Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Oakland
In California, resisting arrest is a misdemeanor, punishable under Cal. Penal Code 148(a). Those convicted of this offense face up to one year in county jail, fines not to exceed $1,000, or both. The court may add these penalties to sentences imposed for underlying or related crimes. For example, if the defendant became violent during the interaction, they could also face charges for battery of a peace officer under Cal. Penal Code § 243(b). Similarly, if the individual led police on a car chase, they could also face evading an officer charges outlined in California Vehicular Code § 2800.1.
Whether found guilty of solely resisting arrest or multiple criminal offenses, convictions create criminal records that can stay with an individual long-term. Consulting with experienced Oakland criminal defense lawyers may help people charged with resisting arrest avoid the complication of a criminal history. Even though resisting arrest is a misdemeanor charge, the ramifications of a conviction are far reaching. A conviction can affect how law enforcement interacts with an individual in future encounters, it can impact relief in lawsuits against law enforcement agencies if there is an excessive force or police brutality claim, and it can be treated as an aggravated felony in some circumstances for immigration purposes.
Defenses to Resisting Arrest Charges
Oakland lawyers familiar with resisting arrest cases could provide significant guidance and support in developing a defense strategy. A solid defense starts with reviewing the facts and, where appropriate, challenging the establishment of each criminal element.
First, the defendant must have intentionally or willfully interfered with the official’s duties.
Second, the official’s actions must have been lawful and within the scope of his or her responsibilities. If they were not, then the suspect had the right to defend themselves or refuse to cooperate.
Third, the defendant must know that the interaction was with a peace officer or other covered individual performing a legal activity. So, if an undercover police officer fails to identify themself, this element may not be satisfied.
With the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, defendants may have a better chance of a successful outcome by showing that one or more of these elements did not exist which could lead to an acquittal or dismissal.
Contact an Oakland Resisting Arrest Lawyer Now
You may feel that the authorities had no basis to charge you with resisting arrest, but without experienced criminal defense counsel on your side, you may be convicted of it. An Oakland resisting arrest lawyer could help you develop a strong defense against these charges. Call us today to initiate a review of your case.