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Assault on a Police Officer

California Penal Code Section 241(c) – Assault on a Police Officer

Assault on a police officer is defined under California Penal Code Section 241(c). Any type of assault of a peace officer or other emergency personnel is a serious issue and aggressively prosecuted in Los Angeles County.

California's assault and battery laws criminalizes the act of willful use or threats of violence against another person. If you assault a law enforcement officer or firefighter in violation of Penal Code 241(c), the penalties are more severe than an assault on other individuals.

There are cases where people have been falsely accused of assault on a police officer. In some situations, when you are in contact with law enforcement, they can misinterpret your behavior and overact. This is especially true if they believe you are not respecting their authority.

In other words, it's not difficult to find yourself in situation of facing false charges of assault of a police officer under Penal Code 241(c).

If you are facing a violent crime allegation that you assaulted a police officer, a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at Cron, Israels & Stark will review all the details of your case to help you understand exactly what you are facing.

You will need skilled legal representation. Our experienced legal team will start preparing an effective defense strategy to obtain the best possible outcome on your case. Penal Code 241(c) assault on a police officer can result in severe legal penalties if you are convicted.

Assault and battery offenses against law enforcement officers are a “wobbler,” which means the prosecutor can file the case as either a misdemeanor or felony crime.

To give readers a better understanding on assault on a police officer laws described under Penal Code 241(c), our Los Angeles criminal lawyers are providing an overview below.

Description of California's Assault Laws Against a Police Officer

There are various statutes within the California Penal Code that address an assault, battery, or obstruction of a police officer. Penal Code 241(c) defines assault on a police officer as:

When an assault is committed against a peace officer or emergency personnel who are engaged in the performance of their duties, and they know or should have known the victim is a peace officer engaged in their duties, the crime is punishable by up to one year in the county jail, a fine up to $2,000, or both.

The legal definition has primary factors that has to be proven by a Los Angeles County prosecutor in order to convict you of violating Penal Code 241(c). These are called the “elements of the crime” and include the following factors:

  • The victim was a police officer or emergency personnel who was performing their duties
  • You willfully and unlawfully touched them in a manner that was offensive
  • You knew, or should have known, the victim was a police officer or emergency personnel who were performing their duties

It's important to review what exactly is considered an “assault” under California law. Penal Code 240 defines an “assault” an unlawful attempt to commit a violent injury on someone else. Your act has to be “willful” and it has to likely result in the use of force against someone, and you had the ability to apply force.

Penal Code 241(c) is the statute normally used by prosecutors to pursue criminal assault cases against law enforcement, such as a police officer, sheriff deputy, or California Highway Patrol.

It should be noted it can also be used to prosecute an assault case against a lengthy list of other professionals, such as a firefighter, paramedics, DOT traffic officers, security guards, animal control, and others.

Under the definition of Penal Code 241(c), charges can only be filed if the assault occurred when law enforcement was engaged in the performance of their duties.

It should be noted here that unlawfully touching a law enforcement officer in an offensive manner could include just a slight touch – if this touching was in a rude or angry manner. It doesn't even have to cause any type of injury or pain.

What are the Penalties?

If convicted of assault of a police officer that violated California Penal Code 241(c), you are facing up to a year in a Los Angeles County jail and a $1,000 fine.

In cases where the law enforcement offices sustain an injury, you will be facing more serious criminal charges, such as battery on a police officer, under California Penal Code Section 243(b), and will be facing a much harsher penalty.

Related California Offenses

Penal Code Section 243(b) – Misdemeanor Battery on a Peace Officer
Penal Code Section 243(c) – “Wobbler” Battery on a Peace Officer
Penal Code Section 243(d) – “Serious Injury” Battery on a Peace Officer
Penal Code Section 148(b) – Resisting Arrest
Penal Code Section 647(f) – Drunk in Public

Defenses for Assault on a Police Officer PC 241(c)

As stated above, in order for the prosecutor to convict you of assaulting a police officer, they have to be able to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that you knew or should have reasonably known, the victim was a police officer who was engaged in performing their duties.

In some PC 241(c) cases, this issue alone could be a potential argument by our criminal defense lawyers in an effort to create reasonable doubt.

For instance, common indicators that identify a police officer is their unique uniforms and clearly marked squad cars.

In assault of a police officer cases involving an undercover officer who was not in uniform, perhaps you were not aware they were a police officer engaging in their duties.

In other situations, our criminal lawyers may be able to make an argument of self-defense.

Perhaps we can show you had a reasonable belief you or another person were in imminent danger of suffering a bodily injury or being touched unlawfully, and the force used against the officer was necessary to defend yourself.

In other PC 241(c) cases, we might be able to make an argument you have been falsely accused and wrongfully arrested of assaulting the police officer.

Perhaps the police officer overreacted and was angry because they believed you failed to do exactly what you were told. In this type of situation, the police officer could have falsely accused you out of anger or revenge.

Contact Our Defense Lawyers for Help

If you are facing allegations of assaulting a police officer, you will be facing life-altering penalties if convicted. We will closely review all the specific details of your case in order to start planning a solid defense strategy to obtain the most favorable outcome.

We have a track record of success defending clients against any type of violent crimes offense, including assault of a police officer described under California Penal Code 241(c).

We may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced to a lesser offense, dismissed, or achieve an alternative sentence rather than serving time in jail.

Our law firm serves clients throughout Southern California, including the greater Los Angeles area and the San Fernando Valley. We are located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. We offer a free case evaluation to learn how we can help you. Call us at 424-372-3112.

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