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Penal Code 241.6 | Assault on a School Employee

Penal Code 241.6 | Assault on a School Employee

Assaulting a school employee in California can lead to criminal charges under Penal Code 241.6. This law makes it a misdemeanor to assault or batter a school employee who is engaged in their duties or in retaliation for something they did as part of their job. Let’s break down what this law means, the penalties for violating it, and some potential defenses.

What is PC 241.6?

PC 241.6 states: “When an assault is committed against a school employee engaged in the performance of his or her duties, or in retaliation for an act performed in the course of his or her duties, whether on or off campus, during the school day or at any other time, and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know the victim is a school employee, the assault is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.”

So in plain English, it’s against the law to assault or batter a school employee who is currently working or to get back at them for something they did as part of their job. The person committing the assault has to know or reasonably should know that the victim is a school employee.

What is Considered a School Employee?

A “school employee” under this law includes teachers, administrators, coaches, school board members, janitors, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, or anyone else employed by a K-12 public or private school, school district, or county office of education, whether they work full-time or part-time. This includes student teachers doing their field work. Basically, if the person works for a school in any capacity, they are covered.

What is Considered Assault?

Assault under California law is attempting to commit a violent injury on someone else. This includes swinging a fist at someone, raising a hand like you’re going to hit them, or threatening to hurt them – as long as the victim feels fear of impending violence. You don’t have to actually hit them for it to be considered assault.

Penalties

Assaulting a school employee under PC 241.6 is a misdemeanor offense. If convicted, you face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail
  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Both jail time and a fine

This is more severe than a “regular” misdemeanor assault under PC 240, which has a maximum jail term of only 6 months. The reason for the harsher punishment is to deter violence against school employees and allow them to do their jobs safely.

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Legal Defenses

There are several legal defenses that a California criminal defense attorney could use to fight PC 241.6 charges:

  • No assault occurred – If you didn’t actually attempt to commit violence against the alleged victim, then no assault took place. For example, if you were just yelling or verbally arguing with them but didn’t threaten violence.
  • Self-defense – You can legally use reasonable force to defend yourself or someone else from imminent harm. So if the school employee attacked or threatened you first, fighting back could be justified self-defense.
  • Misidentification – If you were mistakenly identified as the perpetrator but were actually somewhere else at the time, you aren’t guilty.
  • No knowledge they were a school employee – You have to know or reasonably know the victim was a school employee for PC 241.6 to apply. For example, if you got into a dispute with someone you thought was just a random person, not a school employee.

An experienced criminal attorney can evaluate the details of your case and decide which defenses could get your charges reduced or dismissed.

Related Offenses

Other charges you could face for crimes against school employees include:

  • PC 241.2 – Assault on a school or park property with a deadly weapon
  • PC 241.3 – Assault against a school bus driver
  • PC 241.5 – Assault on a school security officer
  • PC 241.7 – Assault on a juror or commissioner

These all carry additional penalties due to the protected status of the victim.

Immigration Consequences

If you are not a U.S. citizen, an assault conviction under PC 241.6 could lead to very negative immigration consequences. It could potentially be grounds for deportation or make you ineligible for certain visas or green cards. Talk to an experienced criminal and immigration lawyer before pleading guilty.

Finding the Right Lawyer

Dealing with a criminal charge like PC 241.6 can be scary and overwhelming. But a knowledgeable California assault crimes attorney can help guide you through the process and build the strongest defense for your case. Look for a lawyer with extensive experience handling these types of cases and a track record of success.

Don’t leave your fate to chance. Work with an attorney who will aggressively protect your rights, freedom, and future.

 

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