Recently, the news of the death of Geroge Floyd, who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, has led to protests throughout the county. Tensions between many people and police are high, as people are frustrated with police brutality. Some protests have resulted in rioting and violence, which have led to many arrests for different criminal offenses, including assault on an officer.
What is Assault?
Under California's criminal law, an assault is defined as “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”
With assault, you do not have to touch or hurt the person--the charge is about you intentionally trying to hurt another person and having the apparent ability to actually do so. If you actually do touch or hurt another person, you can be charged with battery. Battery requires actual contact.
Assault Against Police Officers
Assault in and of itself is often charged as a misdemeanor, which can result in up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, when the assault is against a police officer, it's different. California Penal Code section 241 specifically addresses an assault against a police officer. To be convicted of this crime, you must:
- commit the offense of assault
- against the person of a peace officer (or other officer which can include firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, animal control officer, etc.)
Under this law, it is not enough to simply show that a defendant committed an assault against a police officer, the prosecution must also show that the defendant did so knowingly, meaning the defendant actually knew (or should have known) they were assaulting an officer. As a result, it is possible to defend against this charge if you can show that you did not know the person was a police officer, such as showing the officer was not in uniform and there was no other official indication (police car, badge, etc.) that the person was an officer.
It is important to talk to a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney if you or someone you care about is facing criminal charges for assault against a police officer. This is because the consequences for this charge are more severe than ordinary assault. The sentence for assaulting a police officer can include a year in prison and up to a $2,000 fine.
Talk to a skilled Los Angeles Assault Defense Attorney
At the Kann California Law Group, our attorneys have years of experience helping clients handle their criminal cases. Even an accusation of assault against a police officer can have negative consequences on your personal life and reputation. It is important to have skilled representation that is willing to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. You can contact one of our knowledgeable defense attorneys for a free case consultation by calling 888-744-7730 or use our confidential online contact form and an attorney will call you.