Male Policeman Forcing a Compliant Civilian on the Hood of Police Car

Can I Resist an Unlawful Arrest?

Police officers may legally arrest you if they have an arrest warrant or probable cause to believe you have engaged in criminal activity. What if I did not commit a crime or the officer had no arrest warrant or probable cause? Can I resist if I believe I am being wrongfully arrested?

If you believe you are being wrongfully arrested, it is generally advisable to cooperate with law enforcement officers rather than resisting arrest. Resisting arrest can escalate the situation, which may result in harm to yourself or others. Lastly, you could be facing criminal charges, and it is typically better to address any concerns or disputes through the appropriate legal channels rather than through physical resistance. Regardless of whether you were eventually charged with or found guilty of the crime you were initially arrested for, you could still be charged with resisting arrest.

Resisting Arrest – Penal Code Section 148(a)(1)

California Penal Code section 148(a)(1) makes it a crime to willfully and intentionally hinder, resist, delay or interfere with a law enforcement officer or EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) while they are carrying out their official responsibilities. This can include any act that makes it more difficult for these officials to perform their duties, ranging from physical resistance to providing false information.

Resisting arrest is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in county jail, plus fines and one year of informal probation

What To Do If Arrested in Los Angeles

If you believe you have been wrongfully arrested, here are some steps you can take:

  • Stay Calm: It is important to remain composed and avoid any confrontational behavior, as it can escalate and complicate the situation.
  • Comply With Instructions: Follow the instructions given by the law enforcement officers. Resisting arrest can lead to charges of obstruction of justice charges and other related charges.
  • Identify Yourself: Provide them with your true name, date of birth and your address.
  • Invoke Your Rights: You have a right to remain silent and you should assert that right. You also have a right to an attorney. Politely tell the officers you would like to exercise these rights.
  • Document The Incident: Try to remember important details such as officer badge numbers, names, or any witnesses present during the arrest. This information can be useful for your criminal case or for filing a complaint.
  • Do Not Volunteer Any Information: You should consult with an attorney before you decide to answer any questions.
  • Seek Legal Representation: Once you are released from custody, consult with a lawyer who can guide you through the appropriate legal steps to address the wrongful arrest.

Hiring The Right Lawyer

Every criminal case we see is unique. What is common to all criminal cases is the need for a dedicated and vigorous defense lawyer. Our law practice is exclusively criminal defense. We bring decades of criminal law experience to the table and we will put that to work for you. Reach out to us to arrange a detailed evaluation of your case and learn what legal options are available to you.

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