Assaulting or battering anybody who is legally recognized as a peace officer can lead you to severe consequences. Unfortunately, you can also be innocently charged, especially for being involved in an event where the police are also involved. Being wrongly identified as having assaulted can lead to a conviction. You need the legal representation of Pasadena Criminal Attorney when charged for assaulting and battering a peace officer in Pasadena.
What is Assault and Battery Crimes?
It is a crime of handling touching or hitting someone offensively. Attempting or threatening to assault or batter is treated as severely as the committed crime itself. However, in the states with an assault and battery code, the terms are defined differently:
- Assault is the threat of applying punitive physical force on someone to cause intimidation
- Battery is the actual physical offensive conduct to somebody
The assault and battery charge may involve the use of deadly weapons to threaten the peace officer, such as:
- A dagger
- Metal knuckles
These threats can be meant for gaining control or depriving the officers of their firearms. It is worth noting that even causing harm to a police dog or horse, damaging their property such as breathalyzers is termed as an assault to the police since they impede or frighten the peace officers from performing their duties. Mobilizing the mob to rebel against the police is also assaulting the cops since you try making the police professionally threatened to continue working.
The crime of battering or assaulting is punishable for all who commit against the members of the public. Some states have two codes of law that apply to the crime of assault and battery:
- The law for assault to any member of the public
- The code for assault and battery to peace officers
In states without the assault to peace officers’ code mentioned above, the penalties are more severe when the assaulted or battered victim is a peace officer than when a civilian is involved.
Instances that could be termed as Battery or Assault to a peace officer are such as:
- Shooting a peace officer
- Killing police
- Mob-bullying police
- Punching a peace officer calming you down
The peace officers, however, usually misuse this type of offense for the followings reasons:
- To cover up their excessive use of force when arresting so that the defendant is threatened enough to feel that they were in the wrong
- To justify their response when they acted more seriously than it was required
- To manifest power and how the defendant ought to submit to their power
- To Intimidate civilians they do not like or offenders who they have had a problem searching or investigating their crimes
From the above, it is blatant that the peace officers can fix you as having battered or assaulted them.
Peace Officer and Official Duties
Generally, any police officer is a peace officer. The list of peace officers rescue and search officers, judges, correctional officers, institution police officers, park officers, and any other person is to maintain peace and order in any public space. Some extension of peace officers definition to include personnel such as emergency response health workers and firefighters.
Official duties imply that the officer is executing their responsibilities as stipulated in their employment code regardless of the time of the day when the assault or battery crime is committed. For instance, an officer intervening in a skirmish between civilians after proving their positions is on an official line of duty. Even an illegal arrest is still an official duty since the jury has the final say on whether the arrest was unlawful or lawful.
Other things that qualify as executing of official duties include:
- Attempting to get the details from a person for investigation
- Accepting a civilian into custody after the public arrests them for crime
- Manning detention, rehabilitation center or any other correctional facility
- Fighting fire or investigating a fire outbreak
Common Situations of a Peace Officer Battery
There are situations where an assault or battery offense can easily come from. Such situations include:
- Resisting Arrest
Resisting arrest is a common ground that can lead to one being charged for assaulting or battery of the peace officer. Whether the detention is illegal or legal, one is required to submit to it regardless of their class. The police can arrest you for suspecting you are committing or about to commit a crime with or without an arrest warrant. You have no right to resist arrest.
Any force you mount against the arresting peace officer may be taken as having tried to intimidate him from performing their lawful duties. Worse still any injury to the officer may heighten the charges brought against you and no compensation for the injuries and the damages you get in the scuffle in case they use force against.
It is advisable to be calm and alert during an arrest. Never say or exhibit anything to hint resistance even if the intensity to rebel and revenge is hitting hard. The police can take any word you speak or act you do personally to elongate a charge apart from the one necessitating the arrest. The stigma the peace officers receive for resisting their authority may land you into trouble. And mark you the jury always leaning to the officer’s evidence than for any other person. Resisting a peace officer is tantamount to rebelling against a whole judicial system.
Peace officers, especially the police, are deployed to quell an uprising resulting from civil unrest. The deployment occurs in cases when the peaceful protests turn chaotic or are conducted without following due procedures. For allegedly thinking the civilians are about to commit a crime such as public unrest, littering the streets, indecent exposure, or damage properties, the police may decide to use force. The civilians may respond by doing things such as pelting them or their vehicle or their dogs with stones, putting their truck on fire, or disarming them.
All these acts cause assault and battery to peace officers and are legally punishable should you be positively identified for having done that. It is advisable, however, to avoid events where altercations can ensue between you and the police. This is because, in the process of applying physical force on you, you may incur injuries that you may not be compensated for.
Another reason is escaping the possibility of mistaken identity, which is prevalent for the identification of people of a different race.
The police may also be bullied by the crowd when trying to arrest the leaders of the demonstration. The persons being arrested may punch the officers during the arrest.
- Preventing a Crime
Peace officers are also assaulted or battered by the criminals to pave the way for committing a crime. The gang of criminals may, for instance, shoot into the air to frighten the police. They shoot at the police to kill them when they come into combat. Apart from paving the way to commit another crime, they are intended to get firearms. All these actions suggest an assault.
The peace officers, especially the police, need to gauge the situation and use the force that matches the condition. They should use the following graduated the method to deal with the civilians:
- Physical presence to avert the civilians from committing a crime
- Use verbal statements which are not threats to warn the public
- Using only bodily means of controlling the people such as grabs, punching or kicks
- Using less-lethal force such as throwing tear gas canisters, whips and dogs
- Using deadly weapons such as pistols and guns to shoot in the air or at the offenders who are severely stubborn top committing a crime
Facing an Assault or Battery Charges
When arraigned in court through an arrest or summons, the prosecutor has the duty of convincing the judge or the jury that you are liable for charges of assault or battery to a peace officer. The prosecution must prove the following elements of the charge:
- That you illegally and willfully handled or touched the peace officer intentioned to harm intimidate or offend them
- At the time of the battering or assaulting crime, the peace officer was in the line of their official duties
- You knew or had all the reasons to identify the person you assaulted or battered was a peace officer
Due to the varying state laws on the crime of battery or assault, some states require evidence of a physical injury to hold the defendant chargeable. On the same other states require just a threat since it intimates an actual act should the opportunity present itself. In these states, the penalties are heightened when an injury is involved.
We have identified above that the defendant is charged for satisfying the three elements of the battery and assault crime. However, the defendant may not reasonably know that the person was a peace officer. The following are indications that a person was a peace officer the defendant overlooked:
- Driving in the official car of an institution or an entity’s vehicle like an ambulance, police car, fire engine or a security agency
- Attempting to handcuff you or other people for allegedly committing an illegal act
- Dressing in an official gear that is identifiable for the authority they represent or having an emblem to designate their organization
- Performing duties associated with a peace officer such as controlling the public emergency medical procedures regulating the traffic or putting out the fire
- Stating to you or another person their responsibilities
Other Crimes Charged Alongside Battery and Assault of a Peace Officer
There are other crimes as discussed below that can be charged alongside the assault and battery charge. They include:
- Obstruction of Justice
This charge is brought against you alongside battery and assault charges for preventing the peace officer from performing their duties. Resisting the officer may consequently imply you opposed the prosecutor, jury, or the judge. Obstruction of justice crime may be coined from:
- Giving a false representation or doing something that would deter an investigating officer from getting evidence
- Making threats of bodily harm to prevent a peace officer from carrying their duties
- Any threats that limit or cows the officer from performing optimally
- Resisting Arrest Offense
This offense also involves impeding the officer from carrying their official duties. Resisting an arrest qualifies to be a chargeable crime on its own because it can inhibit justice in other instances. You may be arrested and charged for resisting arrest which is legally termed as fleeing in the following circumstances:
- When the officer uses extra physical force to quell your resistance such as running after you or calming your potential duel
- When you leave a spot that you reasonably should never have left had the police never showed
- Giving false personal information to escape landing into their hands
- Failing to board a police car necessitating them to drag you
- Failing to surrender your hands for handcuffs
Defenses Against Assault And Battery of a Peace Officer
Even though the peace officer’s testimony against the offender may be compelling, yet there are possible defenses that can get you out off the hook. The following are some of the arguments that your attorney can use to defend you:
- No Indications to Identify the Peace Officer
The attorney may argue that there was no easy way you could have identified the peace officer. The situation of arrest and description of the officer should be brought to question to analyze whether anything hinted that the person was a peace officer. If the above conditions that may be used for reasonably identifying a peace officer are lacking, the defense may be that you assaulted the officer in self-defense. If their identity is compromised, for instance, by their emblem being not in a conspicuous place, you may argue that you did the crime purely from believing that your life was in danger.
The use of excessive force may necessitate self-defense. There is a possibility of escaping if self-defense is justified. This escape is possible is after the jury considers the following factors to gauge how excessive use of force suggested that your life was in danger:
- The severity of the conditions that made the peace officer use force and the defendant allegedly assaulted the officer
- Whether the defendant posed a threat to the peace officer or other people
- Whether the defendant mounted force to flee from the crime scene or resist the arrest
- The warnings the peace officer gave to the defendant or were supposed to give
- The alternatives other than using the excessive of force exist
Self-defense is only applicable when:
- When the defense can prove that the police officer was the first one to attack the defendant
- There is evidentiary proof that the force used for self-defense r reasonably equaled that of the peace officer
- Violations of the Defendant’s Rights
The defense attorney will also help you out of the case by looking at the charges and the evidence to see whether the peace officer violated your rights. This is because anything that other peace officers may interpret as assault or battery to their colleagues may cause them to come to help. In the bouts of emotions, they may overlook the rights of the defendant. The reactions may scrape the reasonable information provision on Miranda warnings entitled to any arrested person.
Apart from being informed, the defendant’s rights may also be violated when they indicate remaining and not consenting to interrogation. In most cases, the peace officers may use force to make the defendant cooperate after misinterpreting the silence. This violation of Miranda laws, therefore, becomes a sound basis for defense.
- It Was Accidental
During the trial, the prosecution must prove that you purposefully did what is termed here as assault or battery. The defense may assert that the reaction that harmfully touched the peace officer resulted from a reflex action. This could have been in response to stimuli such as pain or heat. If there is evidence you touched offensively without your will, then the charges are likely to be dropped.
Penalties for Assault or Battery Charge
If the prosecutor successfully charges you in court for battering or assaulting a peace officer, you may be slapped with various penalties. The severity of the sentence depends on the weight of evidence against you and the level of success that your defense has smashed the charges with.
A primary battery or assault charge on a peace officer according to California’s the Penal Code 243(b) & 243(c) (2) PC attracts a misdemeanor charge which upon conviction has the following consequences:
- A summary probation
- Imprisonment for a maximum period of one year in a county jail
- Payment of fine not exceeding $2000
The following penalties are purely applicable when the assault does not lead to an injury. California’s Penal Code 243(b) & 243(c) (2) PC stipulates more severe measures when the battery leads to injury. An injury, in this case, means that the peace officer must seek professional medical treatment. Finding health care unnecessarily does not qualify the battery as having caused an injury.
When the battery causes an injury, then it is a wobbler. This implies it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the:
- The extent of the injuries caused to the peace officer
- The criminal history of the offender
- Circumstances surrounding the assault or battery
If the offense is charged as a misdemeanor, then the above charges apply with the only exception that the fine is raised to a maximum of $10000.This raise only applies specifically when a police officer is the one involved.
The following are the penalties when the assault offense is charged as a felony:
- A fine of up to $10000
- Attend a formal probation
- Serving a jail term ranging from 16 months to 3 years in a county jail
Since the conviction for both a misdemeanor and felony carries punishment with regulations to be followed, we discuss below the probation mentioned as penalties above:
Misdemeanor probation, also known as summary probation, is given to low-level assault offenders. Under court supervision, these offenders spend a large part or whole of their sentence in probation as opposed to being in jail.
Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor can receive probation such as juveniles, first-time offenders, and anyone, the judge may discern whether you would make good use of the chance. The supervised probation is meant for:
- Protecting the public
- Rehabilitating the offender
- Restoring the offender to sanity for good relations with the judicial system
The probation is given as part of the judge’s discretion or a plea bargain from the defense attorney. Usually, misdemeanor probation does not involve any jail term, but this is not always guaranteed. If any jail term is given it is still short-lived.
One can reject the probation due to its conditions and instead choose to serve the jail term. The attorney will guide you on your favorable choice. The judge cannot impose the probation on any offender. The offender must comply with the following conditions when they accept probation:
- Not to violate any laws
- Compensate the injured
- Seeking a gainful employment
- Doing the assigned community service
- Attending therapy sessions
The misdemeanor convict will have to go for regular evaluation in the court. The judge evaluates the progress on whether the offender is being rehabilitated.
This is usually given instead of the jail term in California. The offender serves part of the sentence in jail and another significant portion out of prison under the supervision of the probation officer. The officer evaluates the behavioral progress and advises the judge on the way forward.
The judge considers the following factors to consider whether a felony offender is eligible for formal probation:
- The offender’s attitude towards probation
- The criminal record of the offender
- The effect the jail term will have on the offender
- The degree of injury to the peace officer
- Whether the offender was armed at the time of assaulting the peace officer
- The offender’s character and whether the assault was complicated
- The seriousness of the crime
Find a Pasadena Criminal Attorney Near Me
An assault and battery charge to a peace officer is like assaulting the whole judicial system. This crime is treated with the utmost severity as we have explained above. Alongside the assault charge, other offenses can also be leveled against you. When your freedom hangs in the balance due to your looming penalties, the seasoned defense of Pasadena Criminal Attorney is your chance at a lesser sentence. We fervently defend clients accused of assaulting a peace officer in Pasadena to gain their freedom. Call us today by dialing 626-689-2277.