Battery on a Peace Officer / Battery on a Police Officer: California Penal Code 243(b) & Penal Code 243(c) PC
Battery on a Peace Officer / Battery on a Police Officer – Overview
California Penal Code 243(b) and Penal Code 243(c) makes it a crime to commit battery on a peace officer. Battery is defined as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. If you knowingly use unlawful force against a peace officer while he or she is performing their duties then you may be guilty of PC 243(b) or (c) depending on whether you caused injury upon the officer.
A peace officer is broadly defined under PC 243, which includes the following:
- Police officers;
- Life guards and search and rescue;
- EMTs or ER doctors and nurses;
- Traffic cops;
- Animal control; and
- Service processors.
Prosecution of PC 243(b) and PC 243(c)
There are several elements to this crime that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order for you to be found guilty of battery on a peace officer. In order to be convicted of battery against a police officer, the prosecution must prove that you:
- Willfully and unlawfully touched a peace officer in a harmful or offensive manner;
- When you acted, the victim was a peace officer and was performing the duties of a peace officer; AND
- You knew or reasonably should have known, that the victim was a peace officer who was performing his or her duties; and
- The victim suffered injury that required medical treatment as a result of the force used (ONLY if charged for PC 243(c)).
Sentence and Punishment
Generally, battery against a peace officer is a misdemeanor in California. However, if you cause injury in the course of battering a peace officer, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted of misdemeanor battery against a peace officer, you face up to 364 days in county jail, a $2,000 fine, or both. Felony battery against a peace officer carries a sentence of up 16 months or two or three years in county jail, a $10,000 fine, or both.
Possible Defenses to a Battery on a Peace Officer / Battery on a Police Officer Charge
A skilled criminal defense attorney will know the legal defenses to PC 243(b) & (c) charges. These include:
- You did not and could not have reasonably know the alleged victim was a peace officer;
- Your application of force used was involuntary;
- The peace officer was not performing his or her duties of the job when you hit him or her;
- You used reasonable force while acting in self-defense; or
- You did not touch the police officer.
FAQs Regarding PC 243(b) & (c)
Can I be charged with felony battery on a peace officer when the officer didn’t seek medical treatment?
The prosecutor will consider the nature, extent, and seriousness of the injury when deciding whether or not to charge you with a felony or misdemeanor. If the alleged victim did not seek medical treatment, you could still be charged with a felony in this situation. However, a skilled defense attorney may be able to have these charges reduced, as the element of medical treatment is required for a felony conviction.
Can I be charged with battery on a peace officer if I didn’t mean to hurt the officer?
It is irrelevant that you did not intend to hurt the officer; all that is required is that you willfully touched the officer in a harmful or offensive manner, unless you used reasonable force in self-defense.
Can I be charged with battery on an officer when the officer wasn’t on duty?
It is important to note that it is irrelevant whether or not the peace officer was on duty or not. For example, if a police officer is off duty, but informed you that he or she was an officer, you can still be convicted of battery against a peace officer for purposes of PC 243(b) and (c). All that matters is that the officer was performing duties of a police officer.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with battery on a peace officer, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing criminal charges of battery on a peace officer charges for over 40 years. We will meet with you immediately to review the facts of your case, and plan a defense strategy that will help you get the very best outcome possible.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.