CA Penal Code 243(b), 243(c) PC

PC 243(b), 243(c) – Battery on a Police Officer

PC 243-b-c - Battery on a Police Officer

Battery on a Police Officer – Table of Contents

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 police officer, however, must be performing his or her duties as an police 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 Battery on a police officer 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 Battery on a police officer 243(b) and 243(c)

To prove a violation of Battery on a police officer PC 243(b) or (c) the prosecutor must prove:

  1. There was a battery committed;
  2. It was committed on an police officer;
  3. The officer was performing his or her duties as an officer; and
  4. 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 police 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

Undercover Police

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.

Casting Doubt

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.

Undercover Officer

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 strong argument.

Lack of Intent

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 Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers 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

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Esfandi Law Group
Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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