The laws in the State of California regarding battery on a peace or police officer can be found under Penal Code 243(b) and 243(c) PC. The definition of this law is the intentional and unlawful touching of a peace or officer or another type of protected official (like a police officer) in a way that is either offensive or harmful, and while the protected official is performing their responsibilities.
A person can only be found guilty of this crime if they knew that the other person was a protected official carrying out their duties at the time the battery occurred. People who are protected under this law, in addition to peace officers, include firefighters, process servers, firefighters, nurses and doctors, paramedics and EMTs, and probation department employees.
Here are three examples that may be considered Battery On A Peace Or Police Officer: Penal Code § 243(b) PC and Penal Code:
• There is a group of people protesting police misconduct. One of the people in the group throws a rock at one of the police officers who are in charge of keeping an eye on the site.
• A parolee who has mental illness issues hits their P.O. during their regular meetings.
• A police officer is attempting to arrest someone who is under the influence. The person claws at the officer and scratches him.
Penalties Under Battery On A Peace Or Police Officer: Penal Code § 243(b) PC and Penal Code
Battery on a peace or police officer is considered a misdemeanor in California. Penalties may include up to one year of time spent in county jail or a fine of as much as $2,000. However, if the crime results in injuries that require medical attention, the crime can be charged as a felony, or it may still be charged as a misdemeanor. If the crime is charged as a felony, it can result in up to three years in county jail or a fine of as much as $10,000.
Proving a Crime was Committed
In order for the prosecution to prove that a crime was committed, they must prove a few different elements. First, that the victim was a peace officer or a person who is protected under this law. Second, that the defendant purposely and illegally touched the officer in order to offend or harm them. Third, that the defendant has reason to believe the protected person was engaging in their official duties.
If it wasn’t obvious that the protected person was either protected under the law (for example, they weren’t wearing their uniform) or that they weren’t engaged in their duties, it’s possible the defendant will not be charged. An example of this includes the following: if a fight breaks out in a bar and one person hits a police officer, but it wasn’t obvious that the person hit was a police officer, the defendant would not be in violation of the law.
Legal Defenses Against Battery On A Peace Or Police Officer: Penal Code § 243(b) PC and Penal Code
The State of California does not take crimes against police officers lightly. However, if you are charged with this crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney may help you figure out if you have any defenses. For example, you may feel that you were defending someone or yourself; that you did not intentionally harm the officer; or that the officer was not engaged in their duties when the battery happened. If the officer was engaged in police misconduct, this would mean that they were not engaged in their duties.
When it comes to acting in self defense or defending another person, there are a few things to consider, and they all must be true in order for them to serve as a legitimate defense:
• You truly believe that you or another person was at risk of being touched illegally or being injured.
• You felt that using force against the protected person was the only way to defend you or another person from that danger.
• You didn’t not use more force than you felt was necessary to properly defend yourself against the supposed danger.
Note that words cannot be considered battery on a protected person, even if the words are incredibly offensive.
You also cannot be convicted of Battery On A Peace Or Police Officer: Penal Code § 243(b) PC and Penal Code if the protected person was not performing their duties. For example, if a police office was unlawfully arresting somebody or showcasing police brutality, you cannot be charged with this crime.
If you’re afraid you might be charged with Battery On A Peace Or Police Officer: Penal Code § 243(b) PC and Penal Code, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today.