Resisting Arrest | PC 148(a)(1)

Under California Penal Code, every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician, in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

PC 148(a)(1) is a misdemeanor charge. The PC 148(a)(1) charge is often seen alongside another charge (often along with a alcohol/drug related criminal charges). 


Willful. Most criminal statutes contain a physical requirement plus a mental aspect to the crime. In order to be convicted of a crime, a suspect does not only need to commit the physical act, but he/she must also do it with an appropriate mental state. 

In order to be convicted of Penal Code 148(a)(1), you actions must be done willfully (mental state). The word “willfully,” when applied to the intent with which an act is done, implies simply a purpose or willingness to commit the act. It does not require any intent to violate law, or to injure another, or to acquire any advantage. Under this statute, the suspect must actually be committing actions with a purpose of delaying or resisting arrest. 

RESISTING ARRESTResist, Delay, Obstruct. These actions describe the physical action that a suspect needs to commit in order to be convicted under PC 148(a)(1). These actions can be done physically or verbally. The suspect might actually attempt to fight with a police officer, but he/she might also try to yell/talk to the police in an attempt to evade police.  

Public Officer. The suspect must delay or resist a public officer. The type of officers that fall under the statute are defined by the Health and Safety Code. Generally speaking police officers and medical personnel (EMT) fall under the statute. The suspect must know or should know that the person he/she is resisting is an officer. This is evaluated under an objective standard, whether a reasonable person in your situation would have known that the person is an officer. [Uniform or Under Cover]

The officer must actually be discharging or attempting to discharge any duty of his or her office. If the officer was off duty, then he/she is likely not to be discharging his duties.


In order to be convicted of PC148(a)(1), the prosecutor must prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, if it turns out that the crime for which you were originally arrested cannot be proven due to false allegations, then PC148(a)(1) change will often be dismissed. If the police is outside their legal rights to arrest you, then this charge should be dismissed. 


Although the charge may seem minor, it is important to take it very seriously. A PC 148(a)(1) conviction will be part of your criminal record. This means that schools and employers will be able to see the conviction in evaluating your moral/criminal record.   

Immigration consequences:

PC 148(a)(1) is not considered a crime involving moral turpitude. Nonetheless, it can still have negative consequences on your immigration status.  

If you have been charged with a crime, please call 619-357-6677.


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