In California, it is a crime to resist, obstruct or delay a police officer when that officer is performing his or her official duties. This of course leads to the question, “What exactly constitutes resisting, obstructing or delaying a police officer?” Is it really a crime to delay a peace officer? In California, apparently it is (Penal Code section 148).

Resisting, obstructing or delaying a police officer is oftentimes the most unfair charge the government levels against its citizens. Of course, we cannot expect people to get away with resisting arrest, or obstructing or delaying police officer. What if the officer was en route to your house because it was being burglarized? As a society, we do not want that responding officer delayed form his or her important work in any way. However, for some officers, this charge becomes a blank check to write against people the officer feels have a “bad attitude.”

This blank check is a very expensive one: It comes in the form of a criminal charge against someone all because he or she may have disagreed with the officer, “disrespected” the officer, engaged in a little constitutionally protected back talk or did not respond to the officer’s commands quickly enough. And while the vast majority of officers are honest, hard-working professionals, deserved of our respect, the potential for the abuse of this particular charge is great. The charge almost always pits the officer’s word against the defendant’s, and there is usually little evidence to contradict the officer’s version of events. Moreover, the charge itself makes the officers the victim of a crime. Jurors don’t like it when officers are victims of crimes.

Because this charge can be abused, and because it is almost entirely subjective, it should be vigorously challenged. You will need an attorney who is familiar with appropriate police practices, policies and procedures. You will need an attorney who routinely files Pitchess motions, which grant the attorney access to the police officer’s personnel file in order to see if he or she has abused other people in the past. You will need somebody who has a respect for law enforcement but is not intimidated by law enforcement. That lawyer is Mr. Bruno.

Don’t go down without a fight. If you have been accused of resisting, obstructing or delaying a police officer near Orange County, Los Angeles or San Diego, contact us at BRUNO│NALU. We offer a free face-to-face consultation and can work out a payment plan in most situations.