California Battery on a Police Officer

April 22, 2015

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.

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. The Law Offices of John D. Rogers has extensive experience in handling cases against police officers and stands ready to aggressively defend his clients to effectively get the case dismissed.

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:

  1. The [person] was a police officers engaged in the performance of their duties
  2. Defendant willfully touched this person in a harmful manner
  3. Defendant knew or reasonably should have known [the person] was a police officer
  4. 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

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Confidential Consultation

If you or a loved one has been charged or arrested with battery against a police officer, then contact an experienced Newport Beach criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call us at (949) 625-4487 to schedule a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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