In California, a criminal charge of battery is serious, but when the charge is battery upon an officer of the law, the consequences of a conviction can be dire. From fines to penalties, including jail time, people convicted of battery upon an officer may face very stiff sentences, and these sentences can be magnified depending upon the circumstances of the battery charge.
Definition of Battery
In many cases, people confuse the words “assault” and “battery.” An assault is simply the threat of force with the reasonable ability to carry it out. An example of an assault may be when someone threatens to hit another person while holding baseball bat. Battery, on the other hand, is the actual use of force, even if no threats have been made. Essentially, one can be charged with assault, battery or both.
Definition of an Officer
While it’s quite obvious that a sworn police officer is considered an officer under the law, there are also other definitions according to California law. For instance, a police dog or other law enforcement service animal is considered to be an officer, and some security officers are also covered under the label. Traffic officers and code enforcement officers are also considered to be officers under the law, meaning the penalties for battery upon such individuals are just as strong as if they were police officers in uniform.
Fines and Penalties
The typical fine for battery upon an officer in California is $2,000, but the amount can be lower. Additionally, individuals convicted of battery upon an officer may face as much as one year in a county jail for their actions, and this jail sentence may be combined with a fine. There are also unseen costs associated with a battery upon an officer conviction, including a criminal record and lessened job opportunities in the future.
What You Can Do If Charged
In most cases, a bail amount will be set for you once you are arraigned. At this point, you will want to seek out the nearest Bail Hotline office. The average bail amount for battery upon an officer is $3,000, but this amount can change dramatically depending on the circumstances of your arrest. In addition, if you are charged with other crimes in addition to battery upon an officer, your bail amount may be substantially higher.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are tempted to strike an officer of the law, it would be wise to resist. Even if you feel that they are treating you unfairly, it is almost always better to bring that information out in a court of law on your own terms, not the officer’s. If an officer is physically abusing you, do not resist and always try to reasonably comply with any orders you are given. Once your arrest is complete, you will have the opportunity to present your case before a judge, and this is always a better option when compared with being charged with battery upon an officer.