I. PC 243.1: Battery on a Custodial Officer
PC 243.1: “When a battery is committed against the person of a custodial officer as defined in Section 831 of the Penal Code, and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a custodial officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, and the custodial officer is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, the offense shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.”
For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 243.1 the prosecution must show that:
1. You committed a battery upon a custodial officer;
2. When you acted, the person assault was lawfully performing their duties as a custodial officer;
3. When you acted, you knew or reasonably should have known, both that the person was a custodial officer and that they were performing their duties as a custodial officer;
4. You did not act in Self Defense or Defense of a Third Party.
II. What does this mean?
A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. A custodial officer is someone who works for law enforcement of a city or county, and is responsible for making custody of prisoners, and helps operate a local detention facility. In other words, it is the person who works in a jail, after you are being detained or arrested.
Another example of a battery is non-consensual touching. Hitting another person is a battery. Thus, the charge here occurs when you commit a batter against a person working in a jail facility as a custodial officer.
A battery on a custodial officer is a felony offense. If you are convicted of this charge, you can be sentenced to upwards of 16 months, 2 or 3 years in a County Jail Prison. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody.
PC 243.1 is not a strike offense under the Three Strikes Law, and it is also 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.
Also, keep in mind, most often this offense happens when you are being arrested or already in police custody for a crime. Thus, these charges are added to whatever crime led you to be in contact with a custodial officer in the first place. In other words, you wouldn’t be charged with this crime at the grocery store, since a custodial officer will not be in the performance of their duties while shopping for groceries.
IV. Common Defenses
4. Self Defense
If the custodial 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 Custodial Officer. Of course, this is not an invitation to attack custodial 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 a custodial 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 attack and assault 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 your potential freedom you could lose on a conviction under this section. Our PC 243.1 Ontario attorney has successfully defended numerous cases involving crimes dealing with battery on Custodial Officers. 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.