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Battery on a Peace Officer: California Penal Code 243(b) and 243(c)(2)

In Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Napa, Lakeport, Ukiah and Eureka

The Basics

  • Battery on a peace officer is the crime of simple battery committed on a peace officer.
  • A “Peace officer” typically means a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official role as a law enforcement officer, whether on or off duty. However, it also means law enforcement officer working a side job as security. [i]Peace officers can include investigators for a variety of California State Departments, Campus Police, Park Rangers, Parole Officers, Harbor Police, BART Police, Railroad Police, etc.
  • The crime of battery on a peace officer is divided into two sections of the Penal Code to distinguish battery that results injury to the victim (243(c)(2)) and battery that does not- (243(b).
    • As you might expect, the penalty is greater for battery that results in injury.

A Closer Look

Background Notes

Click here for a more detailed look at the crime of simple battery.

Elements of the Crime (What it takes to be convicted)

  • In order to be convicted of battery on a peace officer, the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that:
    1. the victim was a peace officer engaged in his or her official duties;
    2. the defendant willfully (and unlawfully) touched the officer in a harmful or offensive manner; AND
    3. when the defendant acted, he/she knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a peace officer performing their duties.
      If being charged with injuring an officer , ALSO:
    4. The victim suffered an injury as a result of the touching; AND FINALLY
    5. The defendant did not act in self-defense or defense of someone else

3. What it really means…

  • As stated in the section above, this crime is really just simple assault against a peace officer.
  • The prosecution will have to prove that the officer was in the process of lawfully doing their job as a peace officer, and that you at least should have known that they were a peace officer at the time the battery occurred.
  • An injury is any physical injury that requires professional medical treatment.
  • However, the question whether an injury requires such treatment cannot be answered simply by deciding whether or not a person sought or received treatment.
  • The jury must decide this question based on the nature, extent, and seriousness of the injury itself. [ii]

Experienced criminal defense attorneys in our offices in Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Napa, Lakeport, Ukiah, and Eureka can provide substantial insight into these types of defenses regarding the required elements of the crime. Contact us at www.dinanlaw.com

Defenses to Battery on a Peace Officer

  1. See: Defenses to Simple Battery
  2. See: Defenses to Resisting Arrest

It is important to understand that qualified, experienced criminal defense lawyers will give each client the very best chance of taking advantage of all available defenses.

Punishment

A. Maximum Punishment (if NO injury is inflicted) [iii]

  1. A fine of up to $2,000; OR
  2. Imprisonment in county jail for up to 1 year; OR
  3. Both a fine of up to $2,000 and imprisonment in county jail for up to 1 year.

B. Maximum Punishment (if injury is inflicted) [iv]

  1. A fine of up to $10,000; OR
  2. Imprisonment in county jail for up to 1 year; OR
  3. Both a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment in county jail for up to 1 year; OR
  4. Under some circumstances, imprisonment up to 3 years [v] and a fine of up to $10,000

Related Offenses

Lesser Included Offenses

  • Assault (“simple assault”)
  • Assault on Specified Victim ( Pen. Code, § 241(b))
  • Battery (“simple battery”)
  • Misdemeanor Battery on Specified Victim ( Pen. Code, § 243(b))
  • Resisting an Officer

Remember, Ronald Dinan and Associates, is a firm of experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyers, who can help in achieving the best outcome in your case. Many times criminal case dispositions will include reduction or outright dismissal of the number and/or severity of criminal charges, diversion programs, probation, reduced fines with installment payments, alternatives to jail, etc.

To get immediate help with your legal matter, we invite you to contact us at one of our conveniently located offices to discuss your case.

We answer all telephone calls in a polite, professional and helpful manner.

The Law Itself: California Penal Code Sections 243(b), 243(c)(2)

§ 243. Punishment for battery against specified officers or others

  • (b) When a battery is committed against the person of a peace officer, custodial officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, security officer, custody assistant, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer, animal control officer, or search and rescue member engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, including when the peace officer is in a police uniform and is concurrently performing the duties required of him or her as a peace officer while also employed in a private capacity as a part-time or casual private security guard or patrolman, or a nonsworn employee of a probation department engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical care outside a hospital, clinic, or other health care facility, and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, custodial officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, security officer, custody assistant, process server, traffic officer, code enforcement officer, animal control officer, or search and rescue member engaged in the performance of his or her duties, nonsworn employee of a probation department, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical care, the battery is punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(c)

(1) When a battery is committed against a custodial officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, or animal control officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, or a nonsworn employee of a probation department engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical care outside a hospital, clinic, or other health care facility, and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a nonsworn employee of a probation department, custodial officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, process server, traffic officer, or animal control officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, or a physician or nurse engaged in rendering emergency medical care, and an injury is inflicted on that victim, the battery is punishable by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years.

(2) When the battery specified in paragraph (1) is committed against a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, whether on or off duty, including when the peace officer is in a police uniform and is concurrently performing the duties required of him or her as a peace officer while also employed in a private capacity as a part-time or casual private security guard or patrolman 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 battery is punishable by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment.


[i] Cal Pen Code §§243(b), 243(c)(2)

[ii] Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions, 1-800 CALCRIM 945

[iii] Cal Pen Code § 243(b)

[iv] Cal Pen Code § 243(c)(2)

[v] Cal Pen Code §1170(h)

Categories: PC 243(b) and 243(c)(2): Battery on a Peace Officer

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Battery: California Penal Code Section 242
Ronald Dinan & Associates, Attorneys & Lawyers, Santa Rosa, CA