California law prohibits the unlawful use of force or violence against another individual. However, when such violence or force is directed against “peace officers” such as police officers, firefighters or emergency personnel, you could face more serious charges and severe penalties. Battery of a peace officer is a charge that is often falsely levied against individuals, often when they are being arrested on suspicion of another offense such as driving under the influence.
In Huntington Beach, there have been many recent examples of such false arrests. For example, in June 2011, “Planet of the Apes” actress Estella Warren was arrested by Huntington Beach police and charged with DUI, battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. Officials said Warren hit a police officer and tried to escape police custody. Warren ended up pleading no contest to the DUI charge in August 2011 and was sentenced to four months in a residential rehab facility and five years of informal probation. However, the battery on a peace officer and resisting arrest charges – both misdemeanors – were dismissed.
Penalties for Battery on Peace Officer
An individual who has been convicted of misdemeanor battery on a peace officer may face up to three years of informal probation, up to one year in county jail, up to $2,000 in fines, counseling and community service. A felony charge could result in formal probation, up to four years in state prison, up to $10,000 in fines and a “strike” on your record under California’s Three Strikes Law.
Actions to Take if You Have Been Arrested
If you have been arrested on suspicion of battery on a peace officer:
- Be cooperative and polite. The arrest may have occurred due to a misunderstanding. The more you try to explain yourself, you may come across as hostile, defensive or even resistant.
- Do not offer any information. Exercise your right to remain silent. Do not talk about where you have been or divulge other information. Any such information could be misconstrued and used against you in court.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Remember that Huntington Beach police officers, like most other law enforcement agencies, have audio and/or video recorders mounted on their patrol cars. What you say or do will be recorded.
- Immediately upon your release, make sure to write down your version of the events. The police officer will prepare a police report to explain the details of your arrest, and you must do the same.
- Prepare a list of individuals that were present during your arrest. Make sure to include names, addresses and phone numbers of all potential witnesses to your case.
- Retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer experienced in charges for battery upon a police officer, who will protect your rights every step of the way.
How Can Wallin & Klarich Help?
If you have been arrested on suspicion of battery on a peace officer, the skilled and knowledgeable Huntington Beach defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can help you fight the charges and avoid serious penalties. We understand the laws relating to battery charges and the technical issues involved. Please contact us at (888) 280-6839 before you talk to the authorities. We will be there when you call.