The Difference Between Resisting Arrest and Resisting an Executive Officer

Penal Code 148(a)(1) PC California’s resisting arrest law and Penal Code 69 PC California’s resisting an executive officer law are very closely related. Both punish an individual for physically resisting an officer who is engaged in the performance of his/her duties. And along these same lines, PC 148(a)(1) is what’s known as a lesser included offense of Penal Code 69 PC, which means that you can’t even commit PC 69 without also necessarily violating Penal Code 148(a)(1) PC.

That said, there are also some significant differences between the two laws. First, Penal Code 69 PC California’s resisting an executive officer law includes a broader “victim” class than does PC 148(a)(1). PC 69 covers all executive officers (that is, any public official who exercises his discretion while performing his job duties).

Second, PC 69 covers more than physical resistance. It also includes willfully and unlawfully attempting by threats or violence to deter or prevent an executive officer from performing a lawful duty.

Third, Penal Code 69 PC is a wobbler, which means that, depending on the circumstances, prosecutors can charge the offense as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Penal Code 148(a)(1), however is a straight misdemeanor.