A confrontation with any police officer can be a frightening experience. Tempers can run high on both sides. If your confrontation leads to an assault and battery on a police officer in Oklahoma, you will need help to avoid jail time.
Understanding Assault and Battery
Assault and battery are really two separate crimes. But because they occur together so often, they are often charged together.
You can think of a battery as a completed assault. In Oklahoma, an assault is an intentional attempt or threat of force or violence against another person. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 641
A battery is the intentional and unlawful use of force or violence against another. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 642
If you get in someone’s face and threaten to hit them, that is an assault. Actually hitting them is the battery. An assault and battery on a police officer in Oklahoma ensures enhanced penalties and jail time.
Assault and Battery on a Police Officer
Oklahoma law provides that it is unlawful to assault a police officer without just cause. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 649
This includes any police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, highway patrolman, corrections personnel, or state peace officer, in the performance of his or her duties. If an officer is off-duty and the nature of the assault and battery relates back to or has to do with his or her official position as a law enforcement officer, then it falls within the meaning of “in the performance of his or her duties” as an officer.
Assault and battery on a police officer in Oklahoma includes any attempt to reach for or gain control of the firearm of any police officer.
In order to secure a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the assault and battery were without just cause. It is one of the elements of the crime. If the arrest is unlawful, reasonable resistance does not constitute an assault and battery. This is an area of possible defense that you should explore with your attorney.
Another area of defense lies in the requirement that the assault and battery be performed while the officer is in the performance of his or her duties. It has been held by Oklahoma courts that if an officer is off-duty, without a gun or uniform and at a place of private employment not related to his or her work as an officer, that he or she is not in the performance of his duties. (Stewart v. State, 1974 OK CR 173, 527 P.2d 22).
But this distinction can be a tricky area of the law. If you have questions about its applicability to your case, you should talk to an experienced Wagoner criminal defense attorney.
Penalties For Assault and Battery on a Police Officer
If convicted of an assault, you could face jail time of up to six months, a fine of up to $500, or both. If convicted of an assault and battery, you could face imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections of up to five years or in the county jail for up to one year, and a fine of up to $500.
If the assault and battery causes grave bodily injury to the officer, it can be charged as aggravated assault. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 646
If convicted of aggravated assault of the police officer, especially if the battery results in the maiming of the officer, you could face up to life in prison in addition to fines. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 650
It is imperative that you get legal help if you are being charged with assault and battery on a police officer. Defenses may be available to you. Don’t go it alone.
Call for a Free Consultation with an Experienced Wagoner Criminal Attorney
These charges can be serious. Get the help you need. We pride ourselves on our ability to help our clients and are here to help you.
For a free consultation with a Wagoner, Oklahoma criminal lawyer, call 918-485-0335. Or, as always, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page.