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Penal Code 148(d): Taking a Firearm from Police Officer Laws in California

PC 148(d): Taking a Firearm from Police Officer

Legal Definition: “(d) Except as provided in subdivision (c) and notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 489, every person who removes or takes without intent to permanently deprive, or who attempts to remove or take a firearm from the person of, or immediate presence of, a public officer or peace officer, while the officer is engaged in the performance of his or her lawful duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

In order to prove a violation of this subdivision, the prosecution shall establish that the defendant had the specific intent to remove or take the firearm by demonstrating that any of the following direct, but ineffectual, acts occurred:

(1) The officer’s holster strap was unfastened by the defendant.

(2) The firearm was partially removed from the officer’s holster by the defendant.

(3) The firearm safety was released by the defendant.

(4) An independent witness corroborates that the defendant stated that he or she intended to remove the firearm and the defendant actually touched the firearm.

(5) An independent witness corroborates that the defendant actually had his or her hand on the firearm and tried to take the firearm away from the officer who was holding it.

(6) The defendant’s fingerprint was found on the firearm or holster.

(7) Physical evidence authenticated by a scientifically verifiable procedure established that the defendant touched the firearm.

(8) In the course of any struggle, the officer’s firearm fell and the defendant attempted to pick it up.”

To be found guilty under PC 148(d) the prosecution must prove that you intentionally:

  1. You willfully resisting, delayed, or obstructed a peace officer, public officer;
  2. At the time you were resisting the peace officer, public officer, they were engaged in or attempting to engage in the performance of his or her duties;
  3. You knew, or reasonably should have known that the victim was engaged in the performance of their duties;
  4. During the resistance, delay, or obstruction, you made a direct but ineffectual act to remote or take a firearm from the person or immediate presence of the peace officer
  1. When you did this, you specifically intended to remove or take a firearm from the person or immediate presence of a public officer or peace officer.

What does this mean?

To demonstrate a specific intent to commit an act, it is crucial to exhibit intention to cause harm. In other words, it must be established that there was a deliberate effort to reach for or attempt to seize the firearm. Mere resistance against the officer is insufficient; one must also try to acquire their firearm. It is not necessary to successfully obtain the weapon to face charges under this provision.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that law enforcement must be performing their duties lawfully. Therefore, if the police are unlawfully arresting you, resisting them would not constitute a crime. This fact can be brought to light during the legal proceedings as your attorney examines the evidence and assesses the circumstances of your arrest. It may not be immediately apparent that the arrest was illegal. Moreover, in addition to the illegal arrest, you must also be aware that the officer is acting lawfully in performing their duties. If the officer is not engaged in a lawful arrest or duty, you can challenge these charges in court at a later time. However, claiming ignorance about the officer’s status as a police officer does not serve as a defense.


A conviction under PC 148(d) is a wobbler offense. This means that you can be charged under this section as a misdemeanor or as a felony offense. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to one year in County Jail. You would be required to serve 50% of this time in custody. If you are convicted of this charge as a felony, you could be sentenced to County Jail Prison for up to 16 months or 2 to 3 years. You would also serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You would also lose your ability to own or possess a firearm for life with a felony conviction.

You also face a mandatory 10-year ban to own or possess a firearm, regardless of the charge is considered a misdemeanor or a felony, click here for more information.

This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since this offense could be considered an aggravated felony under Federal Law.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Self-Defense

Failing to demonstrate that the Officer is in the lawful performance of their duties acts as a defense for your case. It is required that you had the specific intent to commit the offense of reaching for or grabbing the firearm from the officer. Failing to establish that the officer was in the performance of their lawful duties would imply insufficient evidence to prove your guilt. Your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney would thus be able to argue that there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of this crime.

In California, you are allowed to use force against another person if you reasonably believe that you must use force to defend yourself against the threat of immediate harm. In other words, if you are threatened with an attack, you have the right to defend yourself and fight back. Therefore, if the officer is shown to not be in the lawful performance of their duties, your attorney can also argue that you were not the initial aggressor, and instead of resisting arrest, you were acting in self-defense. To demonstrate that you were not resisting arrest or that you were not the initial aggressor but rather defending yourself, it would serve as a defense in your criminal case. Additionally, your attorney’s considerable experience, expertise, and authority will make their arguments more trustworthy and credible in court.

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Facing charges under PC 148(d) can be life-altering, with ramifications extending beyond mere legal consequences. A conviction could jeopardize your career aspirations, immigration standing, and your fundamental right to own or bear arms. Specifically, a felony conviction can strip you of your 2nd Amendment Rights for life, while a misdemeanor could impose a 10-year prohibition in California.

Given the gravity of such charges, it’s imperative to arm yourself with a robust defense strategy. At Inland Empire Defense, our seasoned Ontario PC 148(d) attorney stands out for their expertise in firearm-related cases, including those falling under PC 148(d). Our track record is a testament to our commitment to protecting and upholding the rights of our clients.

For a comprehensive legal consultation and defense strategy tailored to your unique situation, reach out to Inland Empire Defense at 909-939-7126. We’re conveniently based in Ontario, ready to assist and guide you through this challenging time.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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