Assault on a Public Official as Defined By the California Law
Assault on public official is a serious offense and is defined under Penal Code 217.1 (a) of the California Laws. This act is only applicable if the assault of the public officials by the defendant is proven to have intended to stop the officer in performing their duties or as a vengeance. There’s a difference between simple assault and assault on a public official. Simple assault can be defined as an illegal attempt to carry out violent harm on another person. However, it is not a must that for one to have caused substantial injuries to the casualty for them to be convicted of assault on a public official.
Fundamentals of the California offense of assault on a public official:
- An assault was committed
- The assault was committed against a Public Official
- The assault was against a family member of a Public Official
- The assault was either as reprisal or intended to hinder the public official from carry out their official duties.
To be guilty of assault on a public official, you do not have to necessary cause injury on the other person. You are also not guilty of this crime if the assault had nothing to do with the job of the alleged victim.
Who is legally defined as Public Official according to the Penal Code 217.1?
Under the California Penal Code 217.1 a public official is defined as an individual who is a member of the government, a peace officer or an affiliate of the judiciary. People who are considered to be public officials include The President, Vice President, governors, mayors, public defender, police officer, prosecutor, juror, and peace officer. This also applies to the immediate family members of these official mentioned above. Including their spouse, children, parents and siblings. Apart from their main responsibility of ensuring that all arising disputes are settled in the best ways possible, they also make sure that law is enforced. These individuals further take part in creating California laws. If you are accused of assaulting a public official, chances of facing severe punishments are high. To be specific, this offense could see you nothing short of extreme felony charges. Depending on your situation, you may end up facing a death sentence, but most likely you will have to fight for your rights in the federal court. However, for you to be found guilty of assaulting a public official, it is the primary duty of the persecutor to provide proof that the casualty of the incident is beyond reasonable doubt a Public Official. In addition the prosecutor must demonstrate that the assault by the defendants was as revenge or meant to disrupt the officer while executing their bureaucrat obligations.
Potential Penalties That Can Be Faced By a Defendant When Found Guilty Of Assault on a Public Official
According to the California Law, simple assault is considered a misdemeanor, but when the assault is committed to a Public Official, the offense then turns into a wobbler. This therefore implicates that it is upon the prosecutor to carefully examine your case, to either charge it as felony or misdemeanor. In most cases, your charges will be reached by focusing on the elements of this kind of crime as stated under PC 217.1 of the California law. The amount of penalty that a defendant is likely to face is determined by the manner in which they conducted themselves and the situation around them during the incident.
In case you are convicted of assault on a public official as a felony, some of the possible penalties you may face a formal probation, a jail time of up to 3 years in a county jail. The defendant can as well face a fine of up to $10,000. On the other hand, if you are convicted of Assault on a Public Official as misdemeanor, the penalties that you will face include a summary probation, court fine of up to $10,000, or serve a jail time of up to 1 year in a county jail.
If it is proven that your actions were intended to vengeance, or hinder the officials from executing their duties, then it most likely that you will be imprisoned in a county jail for a period of one year. On the other hand, if you have been convicted of attempted murder of a public official with the primary intentions of hindering them from carrying out their official duties, or as revenge for their performance, you will receive a penalty of 15 years or serve a life detention in a state prison.
In some cases, a defendant may end up receiving a strike according to California’s three strikes law. However, this depends on the nature of behavior you exhibited during the incident. In case the court establishes that your behavior during occurrence amounts to a strike and not just the first but the second, your penalties will double up.
Additionally, if the court finds out that this is actually your third strike, your sentence period will range from 25 years to life imprisonment in a state prison. Something important to note is that the punishment will be greatly determined by your criminal history.
Hiring an experience attorney to fight on your behalf when accused of Assault on a public official is vital. A good attorney will apply aggressive defense in order to ensure that you the penalties are reduced or dismissed altogether. In addition, your lawyer may negotiate for alternate verdicts, or argue that the presiding arbitrator does not give adequate demonstration to show that your crime amounts to a strike.
What are Legal Defenses to Assault on a Public Official Charge in California
When charged with the violation of PC 217.1, there are several legal defenses that will enable you to negotiate for your charges with the help of your attorney. This include:
You reacted in Self-defense or you were defending another person during the incident
This defense is applicable only if you rationally believed you were exposed to threat of being touched illegitimately and therefore, reacted with reasonable force to that danger. There is a common belief by most prosecutors and law enforcement officers that one of their own cannot commit a crime. This the case in most situations that see a defendant being charged of assault on a public official when in the real sense they were defending themselves, or defending another person who they believed were likely to be injured.
There was no purpose to sabotage performance of public duties or to retaliate
According to the PC 217.1(a) of the California law, one is guilty if proven that they assaulted the public Official with the intent of revenging or preventing them from performing their duties. Therefore, in the absence of evidence demonstrating that the assault you committed was as a result of the above, then you are likely to be convicted of simple assault.
There was no evidence of present ability to impose a violent injury
In case you are caught up in a disagreement with a Public Official, there is a likelihood of using harsh language or even gestures. You may as well have attempted to harm them. All this can be used against you in the event that there was present ability to injure them. But if not, then you are not guilty of assault on a Public Official. Depending on the characteristics of the alleged casualty terms of age and size, your lawyer may use this defense to negotiate your charges.
Your attorney can also argue that:
- You did not act willfully
- You did not possess the ability to inflict force or violence
- You are the victim of a false accusation
Why You Should Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
You may be wondering how a criminal defense attorney can help you when you charged with assault on a public official. To begin with the most important step to take following in the event that you are faced with these charges is talking to a competent lawyer. At Long Beach Criminal Defense Law Firm, we have seasoned attorneys who are determined to ensure that all our clients are satisfied despite the nature of the criminal charges they are facing. Our lawyers are well conversant with criminal charges associated with assault on a public official and this assures you of promising outcome. The success of your case will greatly depend on how fast you contact an attorney. To be on the safer side it is best if you contact an attorney without delay the moment you are arrested, this will give your attorney ample time to ensure that all necessary information is assembled.
Our lawyers have an in-depth understanding of the law and how the criminal judicial system works. We understand how troubling the charges can be and this is why we are dedicated to providing high-quality legal representation to prove your innocence. Contacting Long Beach Criminal Defense lawyers as soon as possible is important as you will share with us the important information in order to avoid losing important facts that could be used by your attorney to fight for your legal rights. With a combination of these facts and experience, our attorneys may be in a position to negotiate and convince the prosecutor to either dismiss or reduced charges against you.
If you or someone you care about is facing charges of Assault on a Public Official, you should consider contacting Law Offices of Long Beach Criminal Attorneys. The charges can occur at any time and this is why we are available 7 days a week. Trust our experience and call us today at (562) 308-7807 for a free legal consultation. Our main aim is to make sure that you receive nothing but justice, and this is why our lawyers value every client we legally represent. Do not leave your legal representation to chance.