Battery of a Peace Officer
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Under California Penal Code 243(b) and 243(c), battery of a peace officer is described as unlawfully and willingly touching a police officer or another protected person. This crime is treated very seriously, and penalties can include paying hefty fines and spending significant time behind bars. If you have been accused of battery of a peace officer, you are likely worried about facing these penalties upon conviction. McElfresh Law understands how devastating a battery charge can be. Let experienced San Diego criminal defense lawyer Jessica McElfresh work to protect your freedom by telling your side of the story.
Call now at (858) 756-7107 to see how attorney McElfresh can help keep your record clean.
Despite the name “battery of a peace officer”, this crime can be committed against a number of protected groups. Occupations that involve emergency response, medical care, and public service fall under the protection of Penal Code 243(b) and 243(c). These include, but are not limited to:
- Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
- Custodial Officers
- Doctors and Nurses
- Process Servers
- Probation Department Employees
- Search and Rescue
- Animal Control
Criminal and Collateral Consequences
Battery against a peace officer is normally charged as a misdemeanor. However, the classification of this offense wobbles between a misdemeanor and a felony depending on the severity. If an officer obtains an injury as a result of battery, the crime will likely be filed as a felony, even if the injury is not severe. Turning around quickly and elbowing a police officer in the face, for example, would likely lead to a felony charge if the contact caused a visible injury. The following are the most common criminal penalties for battery of a peace officer:
- Misdemeanor Battery: No more than 1 year in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000
- Felony Battery: 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000
In addition to criminal penalties, being convicted of battery on a peace officer can have life-long residual effects. Your career, for example, might be derailed. Employers are not fond of employing people with criminal records, especially when the crime involves violence. This type of conviction could also be devastating to any educational endeavors. Colleges and universities tend to avoid association with those who are labeled as criminals.
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Several legal components must be proven in order for you to be found guilty of battery against a peace officer. The prosecution must establish the following before you can be put behind bars:
- You willfully and illegally made physical contact with a peace officer in a harmful manner
- The victim was, in fact, a peace officer and was performing their duties
- You knew or should have known that the victim was a peace officer
- The peace offer suffered an injury that was serious enough to require medical attention (only if you are being charged with a felony under PC 243c)
Contact McElfresh Law Today
With the help of an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney, a number of strategies can be used to get your charges eliminated in court. It could be the case, for example, that you could not have known that the victim was a peace officer. Proving this would eliminate one of the key elements of conviction, thus dismissing your charges. Your application of force might have also been involuntary, making your actions against the peace officer a complete accident.
If you are being unfairly charged with battery against a peace officer, call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 for a free consultation. With years of combined legal experience, attorney Jessica McElfresh will listen to your side of the story and ensure that every detail is analyzed. From there, she can present the facts of your case in the best possible light so that your charges can be dismissed or reduced.