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Penal Code 243b / 243c PC | Battery on a Peace Officer

 

Penal Code 243b / 243c PC – Battery on a Peace Officer

Hey there! This article will break down California’s laws against battery on a peace officer. We’ll explain what the law says, penalties, defenses, and more in simple terms – no fancy legal jargon here!

What is Penal Code 243b and 243c PC?

These laws make it a more serious crime to commit battery (unlawful touching) against a peace officer or other protected official while they are doing their job. Let’s break it down:

  • You willfully touched a peace officer in a harmful or offensive way
  • You knew or reasonably should have known they were a peace officer
  • The officer was lawfully performing their duties when touched

So if you shove a police officer who is trying to detain you, you could be charged with battery on a peace officer. The touching doesn’t have to injure the officer to be considered battery.

What’s Considered a Peace Officer?

These laws protect more than just police officers. Other protected officials include:

  • Firefighters
  • Security guards
  • EMTs
  • Paramedics
  • Custodial officers
  • Code enforcement officers

Battery against any of these professionals while they are working can lead to charges under PC 243b/c.

What Are the Penalties?

Penalties depend on whether the officer was injured or not:

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  • No Injury: Up to 1 year in county jail and/or up to $2,000 fine (misdemeanor)
  • Injury: Up to 3 years in state prison and/or up to $10,000 fine (felony)

If convicted of a felony, it can also count as a strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.

Recent Changes to the Law

In 2020, the California legislature increased penalties for battery on a custodial officer. A custodial officer is someone who maintains custody of prisoners, like a jail or prison guard.

Now battery on a custodial officer can be charged as a felony even if the officer did not suffer an injury. The motivation was to increase protections for guards and other staff who work closely with inmates.

Legal Defenses

Here are some common defenses your attorney could use:

  • Self-Defense – You can legally use reasonable force to defend yourself or others from harm.
  • Accident – Perhaps you tripped and fell into an officer by accident.
  • Mistaken Identity – You didn’t know the person was a peace officer.

Related Charges

Other charges you could face in addition to or instead of battery on an officer:

  • Resisting Arrest – Physically resisting while an officer tries to detain or arrest you – PC 148.
  • Assault – Attempting to commit violent injury on an officer – PC 240.
  • Obstructing an Officer – Interfering with an officer doing their lawful duties – PC 148.

Recent Cases

Let’s look at some real case examples:

  • People v. Brown – Brown punched a police officer in the face while being arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct. He was convicted of felony battery on a peace officer causing injury.
  • People v. Clark – Clark shoved a paramedic who was trying to treat his friend. He was convicted of misdemeanor battery on a peace officer.

How Can a Lawyer Defend Me?

Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer is key. Here’s how they can help:

  • Evaluate the evidence and figure out the strongest defense
  • Negotiate with the prosecutor to get charges reduced or dismissed
  • Challenge any unconstitutional police conduct
  • Advocate for the lowest possible penalties if convicted

Don’t take chances – speak to a lawyer immediately if you are charged with battery on a peace officer in California.

 

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CLAIRE BANKS

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RAJESH BARUA

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