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Assault on a police officer and: or any emergency personnel under California Penal Code 241(c)

California's Penal Code 241(c) is the statute that makes it a crime to assault police officers and emergency personnel. This article will explore what defines assault under PC 241, what are the punishments for violating PC 241, possible defenses for assaulting a police officer, and charges that may be pursued alongside officer assault charges. 

What defines assault on a police officer?

Assault is committed when someone intentionally inflicts an injury on another, or otherwise attempts to inflict an injury on another. Whereas punishment for assaulting a non-protected class can result in charges of $1,000 and/or a maximum time of six months in county jail, punishment or assault on an officer is more severe.

According to Penal Code 241(c), “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.”

What are the legal ramifications of assaulting a police officer?

Punishment or charges of assaulting a police officer range from a year-long jail sentence to fines of up to $2,000. However, in certain cases, a judge may instead choose to charge the crime as a misdemeanor and give probation instead of jail time. 

What are possible defenses for assaulting a police officer?

Possible defenses for assaulting a police officer are:

  • An individual was acting in self-defense
  • A case is made that the act committed does not qualify as assault
  • Though an act of assault was committed, it was not against a police officer

Other contributing legal factors in charges under PC 241

When an individual is charged under Penal Code 241(c), it is likely that they will also be charged with one of the other coinciding crimes listed below.

1. Battery on a police officer (Penal Code 243)

Under PC 243, it is a crime to make injurious contact with a police officer in an unlawful and intentional manner and to commit such an act whilst the officer is performing his/her duties.

2. Resisting arrest (Penal Code 148)

Resisting arrest is when an individual goes against a police officer/EMT while he/she is performing his/her duties.

3. Resisting an executive officer (Penal Code 69)

Under PC 69, it is a crime to obstruct the duties of an executive official or to resist an executive official while he/she is fulfilling his/her duties.

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law group patiently await your call.

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