The Crime of Resisting an Executive Officer in Performance of Duty - PC 69
The criminal offense of "resisting an executive officer" is described under California Penal Code 69 PC. This statute makes it a crime to resist an executive officer who is in the performance of their duties.
It's similar to resisting arrest under Penal Code Section 148(a), but considered a more serious crime.
An “executive officer” is any public employee that has the authority to use their own discretion to perform their lawful duties, including:
- police officers,
- sheriff deputies,
- district attorneys,
- public defenders,
- judges, and
- elected officials.
A “lawful duty” is any duty they are responsible for performing for their profession.
Examples of PC 69 resisting an executive officer
A common example includes a situation where someone makes threats of violence against a district attorney if they file charges against them. In this scenario, they could face charges of PC 69 resisting an executive officer because the DA has the discretionary power to file charges against them in the performance of their duties.
Another example includes a situation where someone attempts to prevent their intoxicated friend from being arrested by a police officer. The man grabs the officer and pulls him away from his friend as he attempts to place him in handcuffs.
In this scenario, the friend could be charged with PC 69 resisting an executive officer because he was attempting to prevent the officer from performing their duties.
To give readers some more useful information about the law on resisting an executive officer, our California criminal defense attorneys are providing a detailed review below.
What is the Definition of PC 69 Resist Executive Officer?
California Penal Code 69 provides the definition of resisting an executive officer as:
- Any person who attempts, by using any threat or violence, to deter or prevent an executive officer from performing any duty imposed on the officer by law, or who knowingly resists, by using force or violence on the officer in the performance of their duty.
It should be noted in the definition above, PC 69 makes it a crime to either prevent or resist an executive officer from performing their duties.
Each form of a PC 69 violation has its own elements of the crime that the prosecution has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, in order to obtain a conviction.
Under “prevent,” the factors that must be proven are listed under CALCRIM 2651 Trying to Prevent an Executive Officer from Performing Duty, that you:
- Willfully and unlawfully used violence or threats to try to prevent or deter an executive officer from performing their lawful duty;
- Intended to prevent or deter the executive officer from performing their lawful duty.
Under “resist,” the factors that must be proven are listed under CALCRIM 2652 Resisting an Executive Officer in Performance of Duty, that you:
- Unlawfully used force or violence in order to resist an executive officer;
- The executive officer was in the act of performing their lawful duty;
- When you acted, you knew the executive officer was performing their duty.
It should be noted that someone taking pictures or recording a video of an executive officer performing their duties is not typically considered a Penal Code 69 crime.
Penalties for Resisting an Executive Officer
As stated, Penal Code 69 is a “wobbler” that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or felony offense. This decision by the prosecutor is typically based on the circumstances of the incident, amount of force used, and your prior criminal record.
If convicted of a PC 69 as a misdemeanor, you could face the following penalties:
- Up to one year in county jail,
- A fine up to $10,000,
- Summary probation.
If convicted of a PC 69 as a felony, you could face the following penalties:
- Up to three years in county jail,
- A fine up to $10,000,
- Formal probation.
It should be noted that you could also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim if they suffered a loss or injuries. If convicted of a felony, you could lose your right to own or possess a gun.
What are the Related California Offenses for Penal Code 69?
Penal Code 148(a) PC – Resisting arrest
Penal Code 240 PC - Assault
Penal Code 241c PC – Assault on police officer
Penal Code 242 PC – Simple battery
Penal Code 243(b) PC – Battery on police officer
Penal Code 243(d) PC - Aggravated battery
Penal Code 422 PC – Criminal threats
Vehicle Code 2800.1 VC – Evading police
Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC – Felony reckless evading
How Can I Fight Resisting an Executive Officer Charges?
If you have been arrested for California Penal Code 69, resisting an executive officer, our criminal defense lawyers can use a wide range of strategies in an attempt to obtain the best possible outcome on the case.
Each case is unique and will require a close review of the details, but some of the most common defenses include:
We might be able to use a self-defense argument in a situation where the executive officer was using excessive force against you. Under California's self-defense laws, you have the right to defend yourself if the force being used was unreasonable under the circumstances.
This is basically claiming the officer was no longer acting lawfully within the scope of their duty.
Officer's behavior was unlawful
Recall from the elements of the crime that in order to be convicted of resisting an executive officer, it must be proven that you prevented the officer from performing their lawful duties.
We might be able to make an argument the officer was attempting to perform their duties in an unlawful manner. For example, perhaps they were unlawfully arresting someone or using excessive force.
If you have been accused of resisting an executive officer in violation of California Penal Code 69, call our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys to closely examine the details and evidence to start planning a strategy to fight the case.
We might be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges of a case dismissal. Using prefiling intervention, it might be possible to avoid the formal filing of criminal charges.
Eisner Gorin LLP is a top-ranked criminal defense law firm with a team of highly experienced attorneys that have a track record of success.
We are located at 1875 Century Park E #705, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Our main office is located next to the Van Nuys Court at 14401 Sylvan St #112 Van Nuys, CA 91401.
Contact our firm for an immediate response at (310) 328-3776.