I. PC 241.4: Assault on a School Police Officer
PC 241.4: “An assault is punishable by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both. When the assault is committed against the person of a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a member of a police department of a school district pursuant to Section 38000 of the Education Code, 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, the offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170…”
For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 241.4 the prosecution must show that:
- You committed an assault on a school police officer;
- At the time of the offense, the school police officer was engaged in the performance of his or her duties;
- You knew or reasonably should have known that the school police officer was engaged in the performance of his or her duties.
II. What does this mean?
As used in the section, “school employee” means 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. “School employee,” as used in this section, also includes a student teacher or a school board member.
The difference between this charge and simple Assault under PC 240, is that your possible jail time is doubled. The purpose of this charge is to protect officers who work to maintain school safety for the teachers/staff as well as the student. Given as well, that most officers are severely outnumbered by students while working, they require extra protection according to the law.
An assault is an attempted battery. You do not need to make contact with another to commit an assault. If you raise your fist and swing at another person, then only stopping your fist right before their face, then you have committed an Assault.
An assault on a school police officer under PC 241.4 is a wobbler offense. That means this can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor offense. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony offense depends on the specific facts of your case as well as your criminal history. A misdemeanor conviction can cause you to be imprisoned in a County Jail for up to 1 year. You would have to serve at least 50% of that time in custody.
A felony conviction under PC 241.4 can send you to County Prison for upwards of 16 months, 2 or 3 years. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody. You could also be subject to stiff fines, a stay-away order, and possible school expulsion.
PC 241.4 is a not strike offense under the Three Strikes Law and is not a charge requiring Sex Registration under PC 290. 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 may be considered an aggravated felony under Federal Law.
IV. Common Defenses
In order to be found guilty, the elements of the crime must be met. This charge can be fought by your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney by arguing that you either did not commit an assault or that you did not know you were committing an assault against a school police officer in the performance of their own duties. Failing to show the elements of the crime would mean there is insufficient evidence to prove you guilty of this charge.
False accusations are not technically considered a “defense” in criminal law. In essence, the defense of false accusations comes from a person who falsely blames you for a crime you did not commit. So in essence, there is a witness that is blaming you for the crime, and you are claiming you are innocent. In many other defenses under California law, you are guilty of the crime, but there is a technical defense that prevents a conviction, different than here. A school police officer may not like you based on whatever reasons, skipping class, getting in trouble, etc. Here, you’d argue that the allegations are false, and you are being falsely accused of the crime.
V. Call Today
A criminal conviction can have a devastating impact on your life and your future. Our PC 241.4 Ontario attorney has successfully defended thousands of people charged with criminal offenses in the Inland Empire. You, or your loved one, cannot take a chance on such a serious 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.