Orange County Battery of a Peace Officer Lawyers
Being charged with assault and battery can have serious consequences, but if the victim was a “protected individual,” you face worse punishments. Peace officers, such as firefighters and police officers, are granted certain protections under the law in the course of doing their jobs. If someone wounded a peace officer, it could extend his sentence upon conviction.
If you or someone you love has been charged with battery of a peace officer, you should take your charge very seriously. Without a strong defense, you may be looking at years in prison. At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we provide aggressive and thorough representation for every client. We can sit down with you in a free consultation, explain your options, and fight to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Do not wait. Call us today at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 for a free case evaluation.
Assault and battery are two conflated terms that the public use without fully understanding them. Assault only refers to the act of attempting to harm someone, such as throwing a punch, according to California Penal Code 240 PC. Battery, on the other hand, occurs when the punch actually lands and injures someone, as outlined under Penal Code 242 PC.
For the prosecution to convict you of battery, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- You willfully inflicted harm upon someone else; and
- You acted in an unlawful capacity.
Both assault and battery have various enhancements that can increase the sentencing guidelines. Aggravated battery covers a wide range of scenarios, such as if a deadly weapon was used or if the victim suffered great bodily harm. When the victims are certain protected individuals like peace officers, battery automatically becomes “aggravated” and increases the penalties in your case.
A peace officer is an individual who has specific legal protections under the law. Peace officers are responsible for maintaining the safety and well-being of the public in certain scenarios and are members of the government. If you were to harm a peace officer while she was performing her duties, you could be charged with battery of a peace officer under Penal Code 243(b) and (c).
An important element in these cases is the defendant’s knowledge. A defendant can only be charged with battery of a peace officer if he reasonably should have been aware that the victim was a peace officer. If a uniformed law enforcement officer showed you a warrant and then tried to arrest you, you could face battery charges if you attempted to fight back, because you should have been aware you were attacking a peace officer.
In California, peace officers include:
- Police officers
- Custodial officers (prison guards)
- Emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
- Security officers
- Custody assistants
- Process servers
- Traffic officers
- Code enforcement officers
- Animal control officers
- Search and rescue members
Attacking any of these individuals can lead to an aggravated battery charge for you and significant time behind bars. However, the circumstances of the incident can influence how serious your sentence is. If you fired a gun and wounded a police officer while trying to escape the scene of a burglary, then the OC District Attorney may pursue the harshest possible sentence against you. But if you were not aware that you were dealing with an undercover peace officer and harmed him while resisting arrest, the prosecution may consider it a mistake of fact on your part.
The charges are common after major riots in Orange County, as there are a lot of conflicting reports between protesters and law enforcement. Throwing a glass bottle at riot officers and physically harming them could land you in holding, facing a charge of battery of a peace officer, but bumping into a cop while peacefully leaving a protest should not be punished the same way. Sorting through the intricacies of these cases is difficult without the aid of an experienced attorney, who can look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
Simple battery is punished with up to six months in county jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. When the alleged victim is a peace officer, that can be upped to one year in county jail, doubling the normal sentence. However, if the peace officer suffered a physical injury, the charge becomes a wobbler, meaning it is either a misdemeanor or a felony.
For a felony, an Orange County DA can push for:
- Up to 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison;
- A maximum $10,000 fine;
- Felony probation; and/or
- A strike according to California’s Three Strikes Law
A felony conviction can also impact your personal life long after your trial. If you have joint custody or visitation, a family court judge may feel justified in limiting your access to your children. Employers, colleges, and landlords may also be able to see your criminal record and deny your applications after a background check.
The consequences of a criminal conviction should not be understated. District attorneys are never merciful when it comes to violent crime charges, much less when they involve a peace officer. If you are facing battery of a peace officer charges in OC, you need to contact Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. Our legal team can dig into the details of your case and fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed based on several strategies, including:
- You did not inflict harm on someone else.
- You only used reasonable force while acting in self-defense.
- You were not aware that the victim was a peace officer.
- You did not willfully injure the victim.
- The victim was injured due to an accident.
- The victim was not a peace officer.
- The officer was not engaged in their official duties.
At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, our Orange County violent crime defense attorney has fought for many clients in tense cases, helping them to receive reduced sentences or have their charges dismissed. We know how to counter the aggressive tactics of OC District Attorneys and protect your future. Trust in the words of our former clients and our consistent case results.
If you or someone you love has been charged with battery of a peace officer, call us at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 for a free case evaluation.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.