I. PC 243(b)/PC 243(c): Battery on a Police Officer/Peace Officer Laws
Legal Definition: PC 243(b): (b) When a battery is committed against the person of a peace officer [or other protected person] engaged in the performance of his or her duties, . . . and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer [or other protected person] engaged in the performance of his or her duties . . .
PC 243(c)(2): When the battery where an injury is inflicted is committed against a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, . . . and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties
For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 243(b) the prosecution must show that:
1. The person that was battered was a peace officer performing their lawful duties;
2. You willfully and unlawfully touched the peace officer in a harmful or offensive manner;
3. When you acted, you knew or reasonably should have known that the peace officer was performing their duties;
4. The Officer actually suffered an injury from the battery (Only under PC 243(C)(2));
5. You did not act in Self Defense or Defense of a Third Party.
II. What does this mean?
This section does not only apply to police officers, it involves any of the following:
- Custodial officers,
- Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or paramedics,
- Service Processors,
- Employees of a probation department, and
- Doctors and nurses provide emergency medical care.
Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that you intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage. The slightest touching can be enough to commit a battery if it is done in a rude or angry way under PC 243(b). Making contact with another person, including through his or her clothing, is enough. The touching does not have to cause pain or injury of any kind. However, if it does inflict injury, then you would fall under PC 243(c)(2). An injury is any physical injury that requires professional medical treatment.
The touching can be done indirectly by causing an object or someone else to touch the other person. A common example, that can also apply to Resisting Arrest, is a person being lawfully arrested for a crime, and that person deciding to fight the police officer. If they make contact with the police officer, it can be considered a battery under this section. And again, if an actual injury is caused, which is enhanced if medical treatment is sought, then it becomes a violation under PC 243(C)(2). However, it is not a requirement for there to be medical attention to be charged under this section.
Battery on a Police or Peace Officer under PC 243(b) is a misdemeanor offense in California. If you are convicted under this section, you could be sentenced to up to one year in County Jail. You would be required to serve 50% of that time in custody. If you are charged under PC 243(c)(2), meaning you caused injury to the police officer, then you could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony offense, since this section is a wobbler. If you are convicted under PC 243(c)(2) as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to County Jail for up to one year. If you are convicted under this section as a felony, you could be sentenced to State Prison for upwards of 16 months, 2, or three years. You would be required to serve 50% of your time in custody. You would also be subject to ten years, or even a lifetime ban, on your ability to own a firearm based on a conviction under either section.
PC 243(b) or PC 243(c)(2) is not a strike offense under the Three Strikes Law, and it is also not a charge requiring Sex Registration under PC 290. If you are convicted of PC 243(b) or PC 243(c)(2), you would likely face a loss, suspension, or revocation of your professional license. You could also face immigration consequences if you are a non-US Citizen living in the United States since this would be a violent crime in Federal Law.
IV. Common Defenses
If the police officer was not acting in their duties, for example if they were making an illegal arrest of you or a loved one, then you could not be found guilty under this section for battery on a Police Officer. Of course, this is not an invitation to attack police officers if they are arresting you, but it can be a defense down the line if that’s what the officer was doing. This would show that there is insufficient evidence to find you guilty of the crime.
Further, if you are acting in the defense of others, then you cannot be found guilty under this section. For example, if you see an officer arresting another, and you see the officer is potentially killing the other person, and you interfere by pushing the police officer off of the person being arrested to save them, you would not be guilty under this section either. However, if the officer makes a statement to you that you find offensive, no matter how offensive the words may be, it is NOT a defense to the attack and batter the police officer for their words alone.
V. Call Today
When police officers are the victims of crimes, Prosecutors generally fight harder to prosecute. This means harsher penalties, longer jail sentences, and the feeling that they are “Throwing the book at you”. This type of prosecution requires an equally aggressive and well-planned defense. This is why hiring an experienced attorney that represents these types of criminal charges is so important to the potential freedom you could lose on a conviction under this section. Our PC 243(b) and PC 243(c)(2) Ontario attorney has successfully defended numerous cases involving both sections under PC 243(b) and PC 243(c)(2) dealing with Batteries that occur on Police Officers. You, or your loved one, cannot chance such a charge. 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.