Under California’s Penal Code 148(a)(1) and following, resisting arrest is a misdemeanor offense that typically results from someone “willfully” obstructing police officers or emergency medical personnel while performing their duties. A conviction can result in one year in county jail and fines up to $1,000. Charges can result when:
- Someone struggles with officers while being handcuffed or placed in a police vehicle
- A suspect runs from officers during an arrest attempt
- A suspect gives police false ID while being arrested, questioned or detained
- The suspect impedes radio transmissions by public safety officers
It’s important to note that a person does not have to have physical contact with an officer for charges to result. If contact does happen, the person could face a felony, depending upon the severity of the situation or if they have a criminal history.
Defending against resisting arrest charges
Even a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest can have dire consequences for a person’s future. In addition to having a criminal record, a defendant faces jail time, fines and a host of other potential repercussions over child custody, housing, employment and educational opportunities. That’s why it’s crucial to contact an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, a knowledgeable lawyer can refute these charges by showing:
- The defendant did not take these actions willfully
- They were arrested without probable cause
- They were falsely accused
Diversion may be a better option
For some individuals, entering a pretrial diversion program may be the best option for avoiding a criminal record as well as other harsh consequences. California offers eligible defendants three types of diversion programs:
- Low-level misdemeanor diversion
- Mental health diversion
- Military or veterans diversion
Once a defendant completes a treatment or education course, or a volunteer assignment, charges can be dropped and sealed. If he or she fails to complete the program, the case resumes.
Who is eligible for diversion?
Defendants do not have a right to avoid prosecution through a diversion program. Rather, it is an option that may be offered by working with an experienced defense attorney who will negotiate with prosecutors. In most cases, diversion is only offered to first-time, nonviolent offenders.
To be eligible, defendants must not have been convicted of a felony or other charge deemed ineligible for diversion in the past five years. Also, the current charge must not involve violence or the threat thereof. If you are charged with resisting arrest, immediately contacting an attorney could be crucial to avoiding a criminal record through a diversion program.