Former Los Angeles Mayor, Richard Riordan (‘93-01) was arrested for interfering with a peace officer in 1964 when he stepped between a friend and police officers who had come to arrest the friend for stealing drinks at a restaurant. Riordan interceded because he “didn’t see” his friend stealing drinks.
As the former mayor’s episode demonstrates, sometimes simple interactions with the police can escalate to the point where an arrest is made. Oftentimes, arrests and prosecutions are made for nothing more than failing to comply with an officer’s orders to disperse, leave a particular location, or stop talking.
Long Beach criminal defense lawyer, Matthew Kaestner, brings over 30 years of experience to the defense of felony of misdemeanor resisting and interfering charges.
In California it is a misdemeanor (Penal Code sec. 148) to willfully “resist, delay or obstruct” any public officer or emergency medical technician in the performance of their duties. It can be a felony (Penal Code sec. 69) to resist or attempt to deter an executive officer (including a cop) in the performance of his/her duties by means of any threat or violence.
Interference or resistance need not be physical and oftentimes involves no physical contact with a peace officer prior to him making the arrest. Thus the decision to make an arrest for “resistance or interference” is often a very subjective decision by an officer. Citizens complaining of excessive force being used to arrest a loved one are often arrested for persistently voicing those concerns.
Worse yet, there are officers who will use the allegation that a citizen resisted or interfered with an officer to justify the use of excessive force during an enforcement contact. It is critically important that a person charged with a resisting or interference charge seek experienced legal counsel.
In these sorts of cases, experienced legal counsel will fight the case making use of a Pitchess motion to the court. A Pitchess motion, if correctly made, will require the court to examine the personnel file of an arresting officer to see if other citizens have complained about the officer using excessive force, false arrest, improper tactics, dishonesty, or racial or improper bias in the prior 5 years. Witnesses can then be located who can testify to the officer’s prior unlawful behavior.
Officer body cam footage can also be requested during the discovery process to determine if the arresting officer or any involved officers have video/audio recordings that might refute an officer’s false claims of resistance.
Self defense can also be raised to the charge if an officer or officers use excessive force during a citizen contact. An officer must be engaged in the lawful performance of his duties when his actions are resisted or interfered with.
For a resisting or interfering with a peace officer charge in Long Beach and other Los Angeles and Orange County courts, the defense lawyer you choose is CRITICAL to a successful outcome.
Long Beach criminal defense lawyer, Matthew Kaestner, is a board certified criminal law specialist. You can reach him directly for a consultation about your case at 562-437-0200.