Recently, a Simi Valley man was arrested after chasing another person with a knife. During the course of the arrest, the arresting officer was injured. Currently, the defendant faces two charges – assault with a deadly weapon and battery on a police officer.  Both charges are felonies.

California law provides penalties for persons who direct physical actions against police officers and firefighters. These laws are defined under the California Penal Code Sections 242 and 243, which describe the crime of battery.  By itself, battery does not have to involve force or violence, and can be classified as either simple or aggravated.

The definition of battery involves the “unwanted or unjustified touching of another person.” The act does not have to produce any injury to the victim. Battery charges are often coupled with assault charges, but the law recognizes assault and battery as two different crimes.  So what is an assault? An assault is a deliberate attempt to inflict injury upon another person.

Simple battery is an act that does not produce any significant injury to the victim. This is often charged as a misdemeanor and a conviction can result in a 6-month jail sentence, a fine of up to $2,000 or both. Aggravated battery is an act that produces either a more serious injury to the victim, or is directed toward certain protected individuals, including police officers, firefighters or medical professionals, like doctors and nurses. Aggravated battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the circumstances of the crime. As a misdemeanor, aggravated battery charges can lead to a longer detention in the county jail. As a felony, a convicted defendant will face incarceration in a state prison for up to four years.

Battery on a police officer occurs when an officer (or other protected professional) is injured while performing his or her official duties. The officer does not have to be “on-duty,” just acting in his or her official capacity. These “official duties” can extend to officers working as private security guards.

The extent of the officer’s injury plays some role in how a charge of battery on a police officer is presented. A “serious bodily injury” involves a significant injury, and can range from severe cuts and broken bones to gunshot and stab wounds. These kinds of injuries are most likely to draw a felony charge, while less significant injuries (like bruises and muscle strains) are more likely to be charged as misdemeanors.

Because battery on a police officer can result in a felony conviction, it is important to have the assistance of a competent criminal defense attorney. Robert M. Helfend is a criminal defense attorney in Ventura County, and has successfully defended clients facing California criminal charges for 30 years. Mr. Helfend provides aggressive criminal defense in Ventura County. For a consultation on your case involving battery on a police officer, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Helfend toll-free at (800) 834-6434 or locally at (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317, or (818) 591-2809. Robert M. Helfend is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you!

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