A Southern California man has been arrested after driving his van into the wall of a CVS on Santa Monica Ave. According to reports, the driver was doing donuts in the parking lot before striking a tree, a parked car, and finally, the pharmacy.
He fled the scene on foot but was tracked down by the police. A struggle ensued and he allegedly struck one of the officers in the face before they were able to place him under arrest. The man might face charges for resisting arrest and battery on a peace officer.
What Does it Mean to Resist Arrest?
Resisting arrest can involve much more than simply making it difficult for an officer to place you under arrest. You can face charges for the crime, as defined in Penal Code 148 PC, if you “willfully resist, delay, or obstruct any public officer, peace officer, or emergency medical technician (EMT)….in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of [their] employment.”
In other words, you can face charges for resisting arrest if you prevent or make it difficult for a police officer, public officer, or EMT to do their job. This can include:
- Running from police
- Refusing to comply with lawful orders
- Preventing EMTs from getting to the scene of an accident or crime, or
- Providing false information during an investigation.
Here, the driver of the van physically struggled with officers while they were trying to arrest him. This clearly falls within the definition of the law under 148 PC.
Resisting arrest is usually a misdemeanor in California, punishable by no more than 12 months in County jail and $1,000 in fines.
What Happens When You Hit a Police Officer While Resisting Arrest?
Things can get complicated when a person physically resists an officer during an arrest. Here, the driver reportedly physically struck an officer in the face during a struggle. In addition to facing charges for resisting arrest, he could also be charged with battery on a peace officer. According to Penal Code 243(c) PC, battery on a peace officer occurs when you willfully and unlawfully use force or violence on an officer who’s trying to do their job.
Battery on a peace officer doesn’t just involve police officers. You can face charges under 243(c) PC if you commit a battery against a firefighter, EMT, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, probation officer, parole officer, or medical professional offering care outside of their facility.
Battery on a peace officer can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Factors that might influence the charge include a defendant’s criminal record and the severity of the victim’s injury.
As a misdemeanor, battery on a peace officer is punishable by $2,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.
When battery on a peace officer is charged as a felony, penalties increase to 16 months, two years, or three years in a California state prison and $10,000 in fines.
Consecutive vs. Concurrent Sentences
When you’re charged with more than one crime you face multiple penalties. The court typically has the authority to determine whether those punishments will be served concurrently or consecutively. The decision will significantly affect how long you’re behind bars.
Concurrent Sentences: Concurrent sentencing means that you can overlap your jail time for each convicted offense. The start date for all jail time is the same. Let’s say you’re sentenced to six months for resisting arrest and 24 months for battery on a peace officer. You’d serve both sentences at the same time. The six-month sentence would essentially get absorbed into your 24-month sentence.
Consecutive Sentences: Consecutive sentencing means that you serve one sentence after another. This can really add up. For example, let’s say you’re sentenced to six months and 24 months for different crimes. You’d serve six months for the first crime and then the 24-month sentence for the second crime would begin. In all, you’d be looking at 30 months behind bars.