ASSAULT AGAINST A PEACE OFFICER (Penal Code § 241)
Assault, in basic terms, is an attempt to commit a violent injury on another person. Physical contact with the victim is not necessary. Assault can be thought of as an attempt to commit a battery.
When an assault is committed against a "Peace Officer" – even a misdemeanor or simple assault – the potential punishment is more severe than when the assault is against other victims. "Peace Officers" include police officers, sheriff's deputies and Highway Patrol Officers, as well as doctors, nurses, other medical personnel, firefighters, lifeguards, prosecutors, public defenders, jurors and parking enforcement officers.
If you or someone you care about is facing any type of assault charge, the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm can help explain the charges and properly defend against them. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933-6555.
Elements of Simple Assault Against a Peace Officer
The prosecution must prove the following to find a defendant guilty of Assault Against A Peace Officer.
- Defendant committed an assault
- Defendant Acted Willfully – The defendant's actions were intentional
- Defendant Intended To Make Physical Contact With The Victim – The defendant intended to make some contact, no matter how slight, with the victim, the victim's clothes or with an object in the victim's vicinity
- Defendant Was Aware His Act Would Likely Result In Physical Contact
- Defendant Had The Ability to Cause Contact
- "Peace Officer" Victim – this includes police officers, sheriff's deputies and Highway Patrol Officers, as well as doctors, nurses, other medical personnel, firefighters, lifeguards, prosecutors, public defenders, jurors and parking enforcement officers.
- "Peace Officer" Performing Duties – the peace officer must be engaged in their duties as an officer: for example making or attempting to make an arrest or detention.
- Knowledge - the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim was a peace officer performing his or her duties
Punishment for Assault Against a Peace Officer
Simple Assault Against a Peace Officer is misdemeanor and can be punished as follows, but any punishment will depend on the facts of a particular case:
- Informal ("Summary") Probation
- Up to 12 months in county jail
- Up to a $2000 fine
- Community service
- Completion of a batterer's program or anger management program
Defenses to Assault Against a Peace Officer
Potential defenses to a charge of assault against a peace officer will depend on the facts of the case, but may include:
- Self Defense – The constitution governs the amount of force a peace officer may use in self defense. A peace officer's use of excessive force may justify a defendant's claim of self defense.
- Resisting unlawful arrest (a peace officer attempting an unlawful arrest is not acting within the scope of their duties, which is required for a charge of battery on a peace officer)
- No reasonable knowledge that the victim was a "Peace Officer"
Contact UsIf you or someone you care about is facing criminal investigation or criminal charges of any type, please contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933-6555, or through the confidential and secure email form on the firm's website at www.VWattorneys.com.