Posted on April 22, 2015
California Battery on a Police Officer
In California, committing a battery on a police officer is governed under two Penal Code statutes. P.C. § 243(b) and P.C. § 243(c)(2). The underlying charge is P.C. § 242 which is a simple battery. What rises the crime increasing a persons exposure is the battery occurred against a police officer while lawfully engaging in the performance of their duties. Prosecutors treat all crimes against police officers extremely seriously often requiring a defendant serve time in custody.
Los Angeles Battery Defense Attorney
Just because you’ve been arrested does not mean you are guilty of a crime. There are a number of defenses available to someone who has been accused of battery against a police officer. Most attorneys are not aware of the specifics of a case that must be analyzed when representing someone who has been accused of committing a crime against a police officer. Los Angeles Battery Lawyer John Rogers has extensive experience in handling cases against police officers and stands ready to aggressively defend his clients to effectively get the case dismissed. Mr. Rogers is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The best approach to defeating any claim against a police officer is early defense intervention. Call 877-888-9820 now!
Elements of the Crime
Under CALCRIM 945, in order for someone to be found guilty of battery against a police officer, the prosecutor must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The [person] was a police officers engaged in the performance of their duties
- Defendant willfully touched this person in a harmful manner
- Defendant knew or reasonably should have known [the person] was a police officer
- Defendant was not acting in self-defense
What are the Legal Defenses to Battery on a Police Officer?
- The public officer was not lawfully engaging in the performance of their duties at the time you allegedly committed the assault. Perhaps the officer was engaging in excessive force unlawfully outside the scope of their duties.
- The individual whom you allegedly assault is not a public officer with not arresting power – i.e., a security guard.
- Self-defense: You reacted against the police officers illegal performance. For instance, defending yourself against the police officers excessive force.
- You were reasonably defending someone else to prevent the use of the officer unlawful act or excessive force.
- You had no reasonable reason to know the person arresting you is a police officer. Instead, the police officer was working undercover and never identified themselves or give you any reason that they were law enforcement.
- The police officer is exaggerating the circumstances or lying in their police report and/or perjured their testimony against you.
- You did not purposefully or intend to bring harm to the police officer(s).
- Mistaken Identity: This occurs often when the police officer(s) cannot identify the perpetrator or “thinks this looks like [them].” Factors to show misidentification fall within cross-racial identification, poor lighting, or a traumatic experience affecting the officer’s recollection of the assailant. Police officers are human being fully capable of misidentifying someone.
What is the Punishment for Battery on a Police Officer?
The punishment for battery on a police officer can be charged as a misdemeanor of felony depending on the code section. Usually the prosecutor factors the severity of the circumstances, level of injury received on the police officers, and a suspect’s prior criminal record when determining misdemeanor or felony charges.
Under P.C. § 243(b), the charge is a misdemeanor and the consequences are:
- Up to 1 year in the county jail
- Court ordered probation supervision
- Fine up to $2,000
- Counseling Classes / Anger Management
Under P.C. § 243(c)(2), the charge is a felony and the consequences are:
- 16 months, 2, or 3 years in California state prison
- Formal Supervised Probation or Parole
- Up to $10,000 in fines and fees
- Counseling Classes and Anger Management
- Permanent Firearms Rights Ban
- Immigration Consequences
Los Angeles Defense Investigation
The preservation of evidence is critical to defending against assault charges. One should not wait, but act quickly because evidence is susceptible to being deleted or lost over time. When physical injury occurs against a suspect, the police officers generally fabricate reasons to justify using such force. Consequently, all video and/or audio recording seems to disappear or “does not exist” according to the police officers. Therefore, the entire case rests on the police officers testimony versus any corroborating evidence. Below are some points critical to defending against battery charges:
- Photograph all injuries as early as possible. It’s best to show the judge or prosecutor fresh injuries versus older injuries that have long been healed. For instance, handcuff marks, scratches, scraps, bruises, dislocated arms / legs, etc. More often than not, the police officer will not take pictures if the arrest resulted in an injury in fear of a potential excessive force claim or lawsuit.
- Document all witnesses who were present at the location of the incident to allow a private investigator or attorney to contact those individuals to determine if they witnessed the incident and get their side of the story.
- Submitting notices to all neighboring businesses to preserve any audio or video recording surveillance which may have captured the event. With technology today, most people record incidences with their mobile device.
- Names and descriptions of any police officers involved in the incident. Sometimes police officers fabricate that they were alone or with a partner versus saying that there were 4 to 5 police officers effectuating your arrest or detention.
Checking the Police Officers Personnel File for Complaints
If the police officer, lied, fabricated evidence to justify your arrest, engaged in excessive force, perjured testimony, omitted collecting exculpatory evidence, etc., your attorney may be able to obtain all complaints made against the police officer via court order. In that instance, an attorney will file a motion alleging misconduct on part of the police officer. Thereafter, a judge will review the accusations alleging officer misconduct and order all complaints against the police officer to be turned over to the defense. If these complaints reveal witnesses who were victimized by the same police officer alleging you batterd them, this will be extremely beneficial in impeaching the police officer or negotiating with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss the case completely.
Los Angeles Battery Expungement
Battery against a police officer may be eligible for expungement in California pursuant to P.C. § 1203.4. Certain requirements must be met in order to expunge your record if you suffer a conviction under this statute. For more information, contact Los Angeles Expungement Lawyer John Rogers to discuss your eligibility to expunge your conviction.
Dan was arrested for DUI after driving on a Los Angeles highway. While in hand cuffs and being placed in the patrol car, Dan shouts disrespectfully at the arresting police officer. The police officer becomes angered and begins to punch Dan. In response, Dan kicks the police officer to defend himself. In this case, Dan would not be guilty of battery against a police officer because he kicked the officer in self-defense to prevent further injury after the officer began punching him.
Dan was visiting some friends at their apartment complex in Los Angeles. He encountered a security guard which resulted in Dan punching the security guard. In this case, Dan would not be guilty of battery on a peace officer because the security guard is not a public employee but a private security guard with no arresting power.
Contact Us for a Free Confidential Consultation
If you or a loved one has been charged or arrested with battery against a police officer, contact Los Angeles Battery Lawyer John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers located at 1801 Century Park East, 24th Floor, Los Angeles, 90067. Call us at 877-888-9820 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.