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Resisting a Peace Officer, Public Officer, or EMT: Penal Code Section 148(a)

According to California Law, an individual can be convicted of resisting a peace officer, public officer or EMT if that person “willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician." (Pen. Code § 148.)

The Oakland/San Jose/ San Francisco District Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the complaining witness was a peace officer, public officer, or emergency medical technician lawfully performing or attempting to perform his or her duties as a peace officer, public officer or emergency medical technician, that the defendant willfully resisted or obstructed or delayed the complaining witness in the performance or attempted performance of those duties, and when the accused acted, he or she knew or reasonably should have known that the complaining witness was a peace officer, public officer, or emergency medical technician performing or attempting to perform his or her duties. (Calcrim 2656.)

Someone commits an act “willfully" when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intended to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage. A peace officer is not lawfully performing his or her duties if he or she is unlawfully arresting or detaining someone or using unreasonable or excessive force in his or her duties. (Calcrim 2656.)

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