CA Penal Code 243(b) and 243(c) PC
Battery on a Police Officer
Battery on a Police Officer in California
Battery on a police officer or peace officer consists of unlawfully touching said officer willfully and in a harmful or offensive manner. The officer, however, must be performing his or her duties as an officer for the touching to violate Penal Code 243.
“Peace officer” is a relatively broad term, extending its protection under the law to persons such as custody officers, firemen, probation officers and employees, anyone that provides emergency medical care (EMTs, nurses, etc.), and those that serve process.
Violation of PC 243(b) and (c) carries a punishment of up to a $2,000 fine and a year in prison. The fine may be increased to up to $10,000 if charged as a felony.
Prosecuting California Penal Code Sections 243(b) and 243(c)
To prove a violation of PC 243(b) or (c) the prosecutor must prove:
- There was a battery committed;
- It was committed on an officer;
- The officer was performing his or her duties as an officer; and
- The batterer knew or should have known the victim was an officer.
This crime is usually a misdemeanor, but is considered a “wobbler” in California when it results in injury to the officer that requires medical attention. This means the prosecutor has some discretion in charging you with a misdemeanor or a felony. The factors considered by the prosecutor in making that call include your criminal history, the egregiousness of the battery, and any number of surrounding circumstances of your specific case.
The reason the fine may reach $10,000 is because felonies carry a much harsher punishment than misdemeanors. In addition, a misdemeanor conviction holds a maximum jail sentence of one year, whereas a felony can land you in jail for up to three years.
Defending 243(b) and 243(c) Charges
It is important to use the services of an experienced defense attorney in defending against these charges, because the law is very nuanced, and finding ways to prove the prosecutors have failed to meet their burden of proof can be difficult. This is especially true in cases involving police officers as victims.
Prosecutors in criminal cases must prove every single element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means your attorney can help get you acquitted of these charges if there is any doubt as to even one single element. Your attorney will argue you did not touch the officer, or did so in a way that was neither harmful nor offensive.
Another route is to argue that you did not know the officer was an officer. If the officer was not in uniform, this can be a very strong argument on your behalf. If the officer was uniformed, but doing nothing at all relating to being a officer at the time you committed the battery, you have not violated this particular statute.
Finally, your attorney can craft an argument explaining that, although there was a harmful touching of the officer, the touching was not made willfully by you. If you tripped and fell into an officer, your attorney will make sure you are not convicted of battering the officer.
We Want to Help
If you or a loved one is being wrongfully charged with Battery on a Police Officer in violation of PC Sections 243(b) and 243(c) in California, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone.
Our experienced and assiduous attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.
Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529