California Penal Code 148(a)(1) is the resisting arrest statute. Essentially it applies to each person who "willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician.” If you are arrested for a crime and the police use excessive force upon you, it is not uncommon if you put up any kind of resistance, that you will also be charged with section 148.
If you are arrested and there is an illegal use of force (i.e. the police officer uses force to arrest you and it becomes excessive and unreasonable) then you almost always will be charged with PC 148. One of the reasons this comes up is because if you are arrested using excessive force then by also charging you with PC 148, if you plea bargain the case or plea no contest, you will be barred or prevented from bringing a civil claim against the police department for using the excessive or unreasonable force against you.
The reason for this is a legal doctrine called collateral estoppel. The legal term collateral estoppel refers to the common law rule that bans a person from suing, or “re-litigating,” an issue, after the court has decided that issue. There is also caselaw that supports this decision. It essentially “prevents” you from filing the action against the police for the unreasonable or excessive force used against you. The idea is this; if you plead guilty or no contest to resisting arrest (PC 148), then in a sense you are admitting that you did something wrong or you aren’t contesting that you did something illegal. So, if you did something illegal, then you can’t then claim that the police violated your constitutional rights by using unreasonable or excessive force when they arrested you.
This is important because if you have a solid police misconduct case or that the police violated your 4th, 5th or 6th amendments under the U.S. or California constitution, plea bargaining on a PC 148 charge will prevent you for suing the police for violating your rights. You need to know this and be advised of this to protect your rights and a future claim for damages. Procedurally what needs to happen is you need to be defended on the PC 148 charge, get it dismissed and then bring your civil case against the police department, the city or county where it occurred and all the police officers should be named as individual defendants in your civil case filed in federal court.
If you or someone you know has questions about this, you should contact my office as soon as possible at 909-285-4114 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.