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Resisting or Obstructing an Officer
PC 148(a)(1) Law & Defense

Information regarding the crime of resisting, obstructing, or delaying arrest is found at California penal code section 148(a)(1).

The Law


PC 148(a)(1): 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, is guilty of resisting, obstructing, or delaying arrest [PC 148(a)(1) [Abbrev.].

Note: With some limitations, a person may take a photograph or make an audio or video recording of a public officer or peace officer, while the officer is in a public place or the person taking the photograph or making the recording is in a place he or she has the right to be, so long as the person is not obstructing or delaying the officer from making an arrest.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of resisting, obstructing, or delaying arrest, the prosecutor must prove:

  • The peace officer or emergency technician was lawfully performing his or her duties, and

  • The defendant willfully resisted, obstructed, or delayed the public official, and

  • When the defendant acted he knew that the public official or police officer was performing his duties.

Note: Obstruction means to prevent or impede an officer or medical technician from performing his or her investigation or arrest. For example, providing false information to a police officer is obstructing an officer's duties.

PC 148(a)(1) Punishment

Jail: The crime of resisting, obstructing, or delaying an officer is charged as a misdemeanor. If found guilty, the defendant may be punished by up to one year in jail.

Probation Sentence: PC 148(a)(1) convictions are eligible for a probation sentence (with or without jail). Any in-custody jail sentence associated with a probation sentence is usually much less than the maximum sentence of one year. Also, when jail is ordered as part of a probation sentence the jail may usually be served alternatively on house arrest (electronic monitoring) or work release. Whether or not a probation sentence is available in any PC 148(a)(1) case depends largely on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.

Moral Turpitude Crime: Resisting arrest charged under PC 148(a)(1) is not considered a crime of moral turpitude for purposes of immigration consequences. 

Additional Punishment: In addition to any jail sentence for a conviction of PC 148(a)(1), the defendant may face the following penalties: Immigration issues (non-U.S. citizens), professional licensing consequences, penalty fines up to $1,000, civil lawsuits, family law legal consequences, criminal protective orders, denial of entry into the military, and more.

Defense to Resisting Arrest

Common defenses to resisting, obstructing, or delaying arrest includes: intoxication, insanity,, insufficient evidence, statute of limitations, mistake of fact, coerced confession, resisting an unlawful arrest, and more.

If you have been charged with resisting, obstructing, or delaying a public officer (resisting arrest), or PC 148(a)(1), contact our criminal defense attorneys today to learn your rights and options without delay. Our criminal attorneys do not charge for consultations and our office is always open to answer your questions. Call today!


Related Crimes


  • Removal of officer’s weapon & resisting PC 148(b)

  • False representations to police PC 148.9

  • Removing firearm from officer PC 148(d)

  • False report of crime PC 148.5

  • Resisting or obstructing officer PC148(a)(1)-M

Quick Legal Reference​

Crime: Resisting or Obstructing an Officer

Code: PC 148(a)(1) (CalCrim No. 2656 et seq.)

Wobbler: No. PC 148(a)(1) is not a wobbler. PC 148(a)(1) is only charged as a misdemeanor.​


Incarceration: ​PC 148(a)(1) jail sentence up to 1 year.

Probation: Probation may be available in PC 148(a)(1) cases (assuming other crimes or enhancements that bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.​​

Work Release or House Arrest: In some cases, a probation sentence can include actual in-custody county jail, house arrest (electronic monitoring), or work release (or some combination of these penalties); however, most in-custody jail sentence orders that are required as a terms of probation are much shorter than the maximum jail sentence.

Strike: PC 148(a)(1) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.

CIMT: PC 148(a)(1) is not a crime involving moral turpitude.


Bail: $5,000 (San Bernardino County)

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