May 4, 2021 By Paul Wallin


             Well, don’t because California Penal Code Section 243(b) makes punching a cop illegal. However, you can only be convicted of battery on a police officer  if the following elements can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1.   The officer was performing their duties as a peace officer.
  2.   You willfully touched the police officer in a harmful or offensive manner; 
  3.   You knew or reasonably should have known, that officer was performing his or her duties as a peace officer; 

Unless there is an injury as a result of contact with the police officer, this charge is normally filed as a misdemeanor. An injury to the officer will likely be filed as a felony.

Peace Officer Duties

 The prosecutor must show that the officer was performing the duties required of him or her as a peace officer. For example, Jon gets into a fight with Greg during a pickup basketball game and punches Greg in the face. Greg happens to be a police officer, but obviously, while playing basketball at the park, he was not performing his duties as a police officer. Thus, Jon cannot be charged with Penal Code 243 (b) or 243 (c). However, he can be charged with battery under Penal Code 242.

Willfully Touched Officer in Harmful/Offensive Manner

Willfully simply means the act was done willingly or on purpose. The slightest touching can be enough to commit a battery if it is done in a rude or angry way. Making contact with the officer, including through his or her clothing, or even tapping the officer’s badge while asking for his badge number can be enough to satisfy this element of the crime. Wallin & Klarich Orange County Criminal Defense

Known or Reasonably Should Have Known-need to make this match other titles

 Whether you knew or should have known if the individual was a police officer depends on a variety of factors like was he or she in uniform, whether he or she told you they were a police officer, and whether he or she was driving a marked police car, etc.

Defenses to Assault on a Police Officer

  •         The police officer was not performing his or her duty as an officer. (See the basketball game example above.)
  •         The harmful or offensive touching was an accident and not done willfully.
  •         The harmful or offensive touching was committed while defending yourself or another from imminent bodily harm.

A current client of WK has been charged with Battery on a Police Officer. In this particular case, the Client was holding his extremely intoxicated brother down on the ground because his brother was upset due to a recent breakup with his girlfriend. Police officers responded to the scene after receiving reports of a fight in progress. The officer approached Client from the rear and attempted to pull Client off his brother, at that moment Client turned and punched the officer. It will be our position that at the moment our Client punched the officer, he did not know or could not have known that the person grabbing him from behind was a police officer. This argument should knock out element #3 and the prosecutor should not be able to prevail in his or her prosecution of our client.

Contact the Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich to Learn More

If you are charged with battery on a police officer, your freedom may depend on choosing an experienced attorney that can analyze your case and determine whether the prosecutor has a case and if so what defenses will apply. Wallin & Klarich has been successfully defending people accused of battery on a police officer for over 40 years. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation and let us help you, too.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.

Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (714) 587-4279 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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