California Penal Code 69 lays out the consequences that people may face when they attempt to resist arrest or to prevent an executive officer from performing any duty that the officer must legally undertake. It includes the clear consequences for resisting an officer through use of force or violence, including:
- Trying to take the officer’s weapon
- Using a weapon against an officer
- Using any type of physical force or violence against an officer
CA Penal Code 69 does indicate that simply recording, either on video or through audio, or taking photos of an executive officer, does not count as resisting an executive officer. In order to lawfully take photos or video recordings, you may need to either be in a public place or a place where you otherwise lawfully have the right to be: for example, on private property belonging to a friend or family member, or private property that belongs to you. You have the right to record an executive officer under those circumstances.
Dealing with the aftermath of resisting an executive officer, including a police officer trying to perform an arrest at the scene of a drunk driving accident, can mean substantial consequences.
According to California Penal Code 69, resisting an executive officer may mean as much as one year in county jail. Jail time means an immediate loss of your freedom: time away from family members and away from your job, which may make it difficult to pursue gainful employment when you return to society. Dealing with that jail time may mean a loss of privilege and freedom even once you return to society.
California Penal Code 69 lays out a maximum fine that can be offered for resisting an executive officer: as much as $10,000. For many people, that may mean a considerable loss of financial stability or a long journey to pay back the amount charged for resisting an executive officer. Those financial penalties can, in many cases, follow you for years after the incident.
While on probation, the defendant may have many of his normal freedoms substantially limited. That loss of freedoms may mean that he cannot enter certain areas or engage in certain activities. You may even have the people that you can see limited by your probation. You may also need to check in with your probation officer regularly, which may mean substantial limitations on your regular schedule. Dealing with those limitations may mean long-term challenges, including loss of independence and personal freedom.
In some cases, resisting an executive officer may be charged as a felony, not as a misdemeanor. In that case, you may find yourself facing as much as three years in county jail and higher fines. While resisting an executive officer may have varying consequences depending on the severity of the incident, you may face additional consequences in cases of extreme violence, including the use of a firearm as part of the crime, or for a case in which the executive officer suffers extreme, long-term harm.
What Counts As Resisting an Executive Officer?
Resisting an executive officer may include several types of actions. Most notably, it may mean resisting arrest. However, California Penal Code 69 stands out because it involves not only resisting arrest or resisting an executive officer, but doing it with threats of violence. It might, for example, include:
- Pushing or shoving a police officer
- Grabbing the officer’s weapon
- Trying to prevent an executive officer from gaining access to a building or location he has the right to lawfully enter
- Attacking an officer in an effort to prevent someone else’s arrest
- Reacting with violence when an officer behaves in a lawful manner
Defenses to Resisting an Executive Officer
Dealing with the aftermath of resisting an executive officer’s charges can prove incredibly complicated and frustrating. Working with an experienced attorney, however, can help you sort out those snarls and give you a better idea of what steps you need to take next.
An attorney can help build a criminal defense that will minimize the consequence you may face as a result of being charged with resisting an executive officer. By working with a lawyer, you can also get a better idea of the best defense for your specific situation.
The Officer Behaved Unlawfully
In general, you do not have the right to resist the commands of an executive officer acting lawfully. However, in some cases, an executive officer might act in an unlawful manner, including the use of excessive force during an arrest. If an officer is acting unlawfully in any way, you may use that as a defense against your actions.
While violence against an executive officer is illegal, acting in self-defense, or in defense of someone else, is not. If you notice an officer using excessive force, you do have the right to interfere with that use of force, and you may use force of your own to help protect yourself or someone else. You may need a lawyer to argue about the amount of force that was necessary to perform a specific action, or to help determine whether the officer started to use that excessive, unnecessary force first.
The Victim Was Not an Executive Officer
If the supposed victim of the attack was not an executive officer, you may still face consequences, but you may face lesser consequences–which means considerably less loss of freedom overall. In some cases, for example, someone else might impersonate an executive officer. You may also claim that the victim was not an executive officer performing his usual duties, or that you did not know that the victim was an executive officer, which could help you minimize the consequences you face.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney As Soon as Possible
Working with a criminal defense attorney after facing accusations of resisting an executive officer can help protect your freedoms and give you a better idea of your next steps moving forward. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.