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Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Police Officer (PC 245(c)/245(d)) in California

California Penal Code 245(c): Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Police Officer

Legal Definition: Any person who commits an assault with a deadly weapon or instrument, other than a firearm, or by any means likely to produce great bodily injury upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties when the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties.

An assault here means to attempt to batter or harm the officer.

To be found guilty under PC 245(c), the Prosecution must prove the following:

  1. You did an act with a deadly weapon/a firearm/a semiautomatic firearm/a machine gun/an assault weapon/a .50BMG rifle/force likely to cause GBI that by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to a person;
  2. You did that act willfully;
  3. When you acted, you were aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize that your act by its nature would directly and probably result in the application of force to someone;
  4. When you acted, you had the present ability to apply force likely to produce great bodily injury/with a deadly weapon/with a firearm/with a semiautomatic firearm/with a machine gun/with an assault weapon/with a .50 BMG rifle to a person;
  5. When you acted, the person assaulted was lawfully performing their duties as a firefighter/peace officer;
  6. When you acted, you knew, or reasonably should have known, that the person assaulted was a firefighter/peace officer who was performing their duties; AND
  7. You did not act in self-defense/in defense of someone else.

When a firearm is a deadly weapon used to assault an officer or firefighter, the charge is filed under PC 245(d).

What does this mean?

Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage. A firefighter includes anyone who is an officer, employee, or member of a governmentally operated fire department/fire protection or firefighting agency in this state/federal fire department/federal fire protection or firefighting agency, whether or not he or she is paid for his or her services.

An officer is any person who is designated by their employer and is placed in charge of enforcing California laws or city ordinances. Even if you do not use a weapon, you can be found guilty of you use means likely to cause GBI to an officer or firefighter. Because Assault is a Specific Intent crime, Voluntary Intoxication is not a defense against an assault charge.


An assault on a police officer or firefighter is a straight Felony in California. If you are convicted, you could face up to three, four, or five years in a State Prison. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence. Under PC 245(d)(1), you could face up to four, six, or eight years in State Prison.

Further, because this is a Felony only offense, you would lose your 2nd Amendment Right to have a Firearm for life. If you are sentenced to State Prison, you would also be unable to Expunge your case at a future date. Assault on an officer or firefighter with a deadly weapon is considered a serious offense and a strike offense under California’s Three Strikes Law. If found convicted of PC 245(c), you could face enhanced penalties for subsequent criminal convictions. Further, if you are shown to have used a vehicle during any assault, whether on a police officer or on another person, you lose your Driver’s License for life.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of your Rights

They always say knowing is half the battle, here that couldn’t be more accurate. If you are not aware that the person that you are assaulting is a police officer or firefighter, then you cannot be found guilty under this section. This generally happens when a person sees another person being attacked by an officer in plain clothes. Simply because that plainclothes person has handcuffs, does not necessarily mean that they are a police officer. However, playing dumb here will not win your case. The belief has to be reasonable to most people in assessing your situation.

The officer also has to be in the lawful performance of their duties. For example, a police officer falsely accused you of stealing from a store and decides to arrest you. They are now making an unlawful arrest of you for something you didn’t do. Because of this, resisting would not be an assault on a police officer, because you knew, as well as the cop, that they were not in the lawful performance of their duties as a police officer.

Call Today

An assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer charge can be devastating to you or your loved one’s life. Many times, if a fight occurred, you could suffer additional charges such as Criminal Threats, and if multiple officers are involved, then multiple charges in addition to what you did to cause the first assault. You are facing many years in prison, in addition to the stiff fines and fees, as well as losing your 2nd Amendment Rights. You need an experienced attorney to fight for you or your loved one. Our PC 245(c) Ontario attorney has successfully defended numerous cases involving Assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer under PC 245(c). The initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario, CA.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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