DUI arrests don't always lead to convictions in court. Police officer mistakes, faulty breathalyzers and crime lab errors may get your charges reduced or dismissed. Visit our California DUI page to learn more.
I Got Into a Fight With an Off-Duty Cop Working Security. What Charges Will I Face?
Many fights can lead to California battery charges. However, if you face such charges after getting into a fight with an off-duty cop who was acting as a security guard, or with many other kinds of public workers or employees, the consequences of a conviction can be more severe.
Most battery charges filed under California Penal Code Section 242 PC, in cases that don’t result in serious bodily injuries, are prosecuted as misdemeanors with penalties that can include up to six months in county jail and fines of up to $2,000.
Enhanced Penalties for Battery Against Cops and Other Public Employees
California law, however, treats battery against certain public employees differently and with greater penalties, including off-duty police officers working as security guards.
If you knew or reasonably should have known that the other person was a police officer engaged in the performance of their duties, even acting as a private security guard, you could be charged under Penal Code Section 243(c)(2). Under that section, a conviction could result in imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or 16 months, or two or three years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Similarly, you could face enhanced penalties upon conviction for a battery against any of the following individuals if you knew or reasonably should have known that they were performing their duties in one of these roles:
Emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic
Code enforcement officer
Animal control officer
Search and rescue member
Employee of a probation department, or
Doctor or nurse providing emergency medical care.
Penal Code Section 243(b).
The penalties for a battery against any of the individuals listed above can include up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,000. However, if you are found to have caused an injury as a result of the battery, the crime becomes a wobbler, with a potential felony jail sentence of 16 months, two years or three years. Penal Code Section 243(c)(1).
Given the consequences of a battery conviction, especially a conviction for battery against a police officer or public employee, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
About the Author
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.