Let’s face it, the police know how to intimidate people, so a confrontation with any police officer can be a frightening experience. Sometimes, tempers can lead to physical assault — on both sides. If that happens to you, you will want to know what to do and who to call. Assault and battery on a police officer in Stillwater, Oklahoma can lead to serious consequences. Here is what you need to know.
Understanding Assault and Battery
Assault and battery in Oklahoma are actually two separate crimes. They often occur together and in some ways, a battery can be thought of as a completed assault.
Assault is defined as any intentional attempt or threat of force or violence against another person. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 641
Battery is defined as the intentional and unlawful use of force or violence against another. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 642
So, assault is the threat of violence and battery is the violence itself.
Assault and battery on a police officer in Oklahoma ensures enhanced penalties and jail time. If you are being charged with this crime, you want an experienced Stillwater criminal defense attorney on your side.
Assault and Battery on a Police Officer
Oklahoma law forbids people from committing assault or battery upon a police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, highway patrolman, corrections personnel, or state peace officer in the performance of his or her duties, without just cause. Also, assault and battery on a police officer includes any attempt to reach for or gain control of the firearm of any police officer. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 649
Defenses to this crime come directly from the statute itself. In order to be a crime, the officer must be in the performance of his or her duties. This is a term replete with ambiguity.
If an officer is off duty and dressed in civilian clothing, you may have a viable defense. 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 their job as an officer, then they are not in the performance of their duties. Stewart v. State, 527 P.2d 22, 1974 OK CR 173
However, if an officer is off duty and the nature of the assault or 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. This can be a tricky area of defense, and small facts may make a big difference.
In order to secure a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the assault and battery were without just cause. In essence, the prosecution must show that the underlying arrest or detention was lawful. Thus, reasonable resistance against an unlawful arrest is a defense to this crime — meaning if the resistance is reasonable, there is no assault or battery.
What Assault and Battery on a Police Officer Can Look Like
Here are some examples of typical scenarios that can lead to an arrest.
- A police officer helps a drunken woman from falling over at a DUI checkpoint. She scratches and hits him.
- A young man is carrying marijuana, and a police officer can smell it. During the arrest, the young man starts to thrash on the ground and both kicks and spits on the police officer.
- At a large crowd event, the police move to contain the crowd and a person pushes back against a police officer, yelling obscenities.
Penalties for Assault and Battery on a Police Officer
If convicted of assault, you could face up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both.
If convicted of assault and battery, you could face up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $500, or both.
If the assault and battery causes grave bodily injury to the officer, it can be charged as aggravated assault. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 646
Aggravated assault of a police officer, especially if the battery results in the maiming of the officer, can mean years in prison. 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.
Free Consultation with a Stillwater Lawyer
Wirth Law Office – Stillwater is here to help you when you need it the most.
We offer a free consultation with an experienced Stillwater criminal defense attorney to help you defend your legal rights.
Call 405-673-1600 for a free consultation or submit a question through this website.