Resisting arrest under Penal Code § 148(a)(1) is the misdemeanor version of Penal Code § 69, which is usually a felony. Section 148(a)(1) is violated when one obstructs an officer or EMT when the officer or EMT is performing his or her duties. The prosecution must prove that defendant knew or should have known that the person affected was an officer or an EMT performing such duties. To prove this, the prosecution will argue what a reasonable person would have realized or understood the nature of the obstruction.
This charge is often alleged with other charges, so the focus of the prosecution is more often than not the other charges, such as DUI, domestic violence, a sex offense or a drug offense.
However, it is important to understand exactly what must be proven by the facts for the prosecution to convict a defendant of violating section 148(a)(1). “Willfully” means on purpose. It does not mean that the defendant realizes his conduct is illegal; only that he intended to resist, delay or obstruct an officer or EMT.
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