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PC 245.5 Assault on a School Employee Laws in California- IE-Criminal Defense

I. PC 245.5: Assault on a School Employee


Legal Definition:  (a) Every 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 school employee, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a school employee engaged in the performance of his or her duties, when that school employee is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished…

(b) Every person who commits an assault with a firearm upon the person of a school employee, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a school employee engaged in the performance of his or her duties, when the school employee is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished…”

(c) Every person who commits an assault upon the person of a school employee with a stun gun or taser, and who knows or reasonably should know that the person is a school employee engaged in the performance of his or her duties, when the school employee is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished…”

To be found guilty under PC 245.5, the prosecution must prove that:

  1. You willfully and unlawfully touched a school employee in a harmful or offensive manner;
  2. When you acted, the school employee was performing their duties as a school employee;

AND

  1. When you acted, you knew or reasonably should have known, that the person unlawfully touched was a school employee.

II. 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. Making contact with another person, including through his or her clothing, is enough to commit a battery. The slightest touching can be enough if it is done in a rude or angry way. Your touching does not need to cause pain or injury of any kind.

A school employee is any person employed as a permanent or probationary certificated or classified employee of a school district on a part-time or full-time basis, including a substitute teacher, student-teacher, or school board member. An assault is an unlawful attempt to commit a battery crime with the present ability to do so. The school employee must be acting under their duties as a school employee, so for example, you could not hit a former teacher at a bar, and be charged under this section.

III. Penalties


The penalties under this section depend on what section you are charged with.

  1. PC 245.5(a) A deadly weapon (not a firearm) likely to cause GBI: This is a wobbler offense, meaning you can be charged under this section as a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether you are charged with this section as a misdemeanor or a felony, depends on the specific facts of your case, your criminal history, and the amount of injury caused. If you are convicted under this section as a felony, you can be sentenced to upwards of three, four, or five years in a State Prison. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. If you are convicted of this section as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced up to one year in County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody.
  2. PC 245.5(b) A firearm: This is a wobbler offense, meaning you can be charged under this section as a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether you are charged with this section as a misdemeanor or a felony, depends on the specific facts of your case, your criminal history, and the amount of injury caused. If you are convicted under this section as a felony, you can be sentenced to upwards of four, six, or eight years in a State Prison. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. If you are convicted of this section as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced up to one year in County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody.
  3. P 245.5(c) A Stun gun or taser: This is a wobbler offense, meaning you can be charged under this section as a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether you are charged with this section as a misdemeanor or a felony, depends on the specific facts of your case, your criminal history, and the amount of injury caused. If you are convicted under this section as a felony, you can be sentenced to upwards of two, three, or four years in a State Prison. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. If you are convicted of this section as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced up to one year in County Jail. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody.

If you are convicted under (1) or (2) as felonies, they are considered Strikes under California’s Three Strike Laws. The (3) option above, may possibly become a strike as well. If these are misdemeanor offenses, they are not strike offenses. These are also not Sex Registration Offenses under PC 290. If you are convicted of this charge as a felony, you could face a potential loss of your temporary Immigration status or loss of your Professional License.

IV. Common Defenses


  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence
  4. Duress

A common defense to this charge would be that the person you assaulted was not a school employee acting under their duties as a school employee. For example, getting into a disagreement with a school employee during a night out on the town, would not be sufficient for this criminal charge. This would not preclude you from being charged under a different Assault charge, just not one involving a school employee. Failing to show that the person assaulted was a school employee or acting under their duties, or even if you reasonably believe that the person is someone else, possibly another student, then there’d be insufficient evidence to find you guilty of this crime.

Police can also violate your rights in a pending criminal case that can lead to a possible dismissal or reduction in charges. Police must have probable cause to detain or arrest you for committing a crime. If you were stopped or arrested for violating PC 245.5, and there was no probable cause for your arrest, then any evidence obtained following the illegal arrest could get excluded from the case. This exclusion could result in the dismissal or reduction to lesser charges.

V. Call Today


School employees are heavily protected under the laws, as they are thought of as professionals doing an important job – educating people, whether that be kids, teens or adults. Because of this, a conviction under this section can be devastating to your life and your freedom. Our Ontario PC 245.5 attorney has dealt with many assault related offenses, including violations under PC 245.5. Call your local Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney today at the Inland Empire Defense 909-939-7126. Located in Ontario.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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