Resisting Arrest

Avoiding penalties for resisting arrest requires obtaining legal representation to build a strong defense and protect your rights.

Resisting Arrest Attorneys in Bakersfield, California

If you’ve been arrested and charged with any kind of crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney who can help you learn about your options and properly address your charges. However, for those who have the added charge of resisting arrest, it’s even more important to seek representation since this can make your case more complicated and lead to harsher consequences. In some extreme cases, resisting arrest can lead to you being harmed or killed if the arresting officer believes you have a deadly weapon. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 80% percent of those arrested who were injured or killed by police had a weapon on them and were reported to have been trying to resist arrest.

If you’re in the Bakersfield, California area and want to speak with a criminal defense attorney, call us today at Underwood Law Firm. We’re also able to help clients in Lamont and throughout Kern County.

Accused of Resisting Arrest?

Accused of Resisting Arrest?

Resisting arrest is a broad term applied to any time a peace officer (including police officers, sheriffs, highway patrol, correctional officers, or emergency medical technicians) is attempting to make a lawful arrest and the person under arrest obstructs this process in some way. This can refer to a person physically resisting arrest by threatening some sort of violence toward the law enforcement officer or harming them, but it can also refer to non-physical acts of resistance like refusing to comply with the officer’s instructions, impeding or delaying their actions in some way such as going limp, failing to follow orders like placing your hands on top of your car or attempting to flee the arrest on foot or in a vehicle.

Do You Have the Right to Resist Arrest?

There are some cases in which you have the right to resist arrest, though this can be very hard to prove in a court of law. Because of this, it’s almost always better to comply with an officer’s directions the first time during an arrest. You can contact a resisting arrest attorney afterward who can then fight on your behalf to seek to have the charges dismissed.

Per California law, for a resisting arrest charge to be valid, the original arrest must be lawful. A lawful arrest means that the law enforcement officer was performing the duties of their job and they had probable cause that you had committed a crime. An officer also has a duty not to use excessive force when making an arrest. However, even if you believe it’s an unlawful arrest, if the officer was acting under a reasonable belief that you committed a crime—even if the information they had at the time was later found to be incorrect—the arrest would still be considered lawful and you could face consequences for resisting. Or, if you feel the officer is using excessive force it’s still a better idea to comply with the arrest and fight the charges later with the assistance of a lawyer.

Consequences for Resisting Arrest

Charges for resisting arrest can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor, and typically, if you used force against the arresting officer, you’ll be facing a felony charge. Consequences can include jail time, fines, community service, probation, or mandatory counseling. Additionally, this charge will then show up on any police reports and could influence future interactions with police officers if they know you have a history of resisting arrest.

Defenses to a Charge of Resisting Arrest

One of the most common defenses against a resisting arrest charge is self-defense, although this can be tricky to use in a court of law. Essentially, a self-defense claim can be used if you can prove you legitimately believed you were protecting yourself against imminent danger or serious harm. For this defense to be effective, you also must only use as much force as is necessary to deflect the threat. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this defense.

Other defenses stem from the claim that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to make the arrest in the first place. This could be due to suspected racial profiling, or perhaps the arresting officer entered your home without a warrant.

Lastly, the resisting arrest charge may have no basis and you legitimately thought you were complying with the officer’s directions at the time. Maybe they interpreted your remarks to be rude or disrespectful and because of this, they made the assumption that you were trying to resist arrest.