As the country braces for yet another holiday shopping season, it has already been reported that shoppers have been brawling all over the country at shopping malls. A man in El Paso has been arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer during a Black Friday brawl at a Walmart store. Authorities in El Paso arrested a 23-year-old man named Ruben Garcia after he allegedly hit an off-duty officer multiple times while he was working security at the store. Police claim Garcia was trying to take a TV that was already being held by an elderly woman. She was crying and asking for help. When the officer approached him, a fight ensured. Garcia is also accused of attempting to choke the officer. Garcia was booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility and charged with assault of a public servant.
What is Assault and/or Battery?
People often confuse the terms “assault” and “battery,” but the reality is that they are two distinct crimes in California. Under CA Penal Code § 240, assault is defined as the attempt to use force or violence against someone else. Battery on the other hand, results in the actual use of force or violence on someone else. Actual injury does not have to occur for battery charges, as long as the unlawful touching and force was committed.
The penalties for a simple battery in California is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a fine of $2,000.
Battery Against a Police Officer
Whenever someone is accused of assaulting a police officer, on duty or off duty, the penalties s/he will face will ALWAYS be steeper. In California, the crime is known as “battery on a public servant.” Public servants include judges, firefighters, police, and process servers. One commits this crime when s/he intentionally and harmfully harms a peace officer or other protected class while s/he is performing his or her duties. When you committed the battery, you must have reasonably known s/he was a public servant attempting to perform his/her duties.
Battery against a public officer is either a misdemeanor or felony (a wobbler offense) punishable by imprisonment of one year and a fine of $2,000. If charged as a felony, you will face up to three years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
San Diego Violent Crimes Defense Lawyer
Law enforcement takes allegations of crimes/battery against police very seriously. The police called to the scene will not hesitate to charge you with the crime, and judges and other law enforcement personnel also tend to be harsher to those convicted of this crime. However, some legal defenses are available, such as that you acted in self-defense or the defense or someone else. If you have been falsely accused of battery of a public servant, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje today. Consultations are free and confidential.