Battery of a police officer in Louisiana is a criminal charge that can either be a misdemeanor or felony, based on the alleged facts and circumstances of the case. Let’s break down the various elements of this charge to see what the prosecutor would have to prove against a defendant charged with battery of a police officer.
Battery in Louisiana is defined as the intentional use of force or violence upon the person of another; or the intentional administration of a poison or other noxious liquid or substance to another. Essentially, a battery occurs when you physically touch someone. Battery doesn’t have to result in serious physical harm. It could be as simple as a push in the chest. That is a battery. Especially when it comes to police officers, if you as much as brush against a police officer, you will likely get charged. The officer will probably throw in a few extra charges as well such as Resisting an Officer.
Battery is not the same thing as an assault. Assault charges do not require any touching. Assault is attempting to commit a battery or threatening someone. Be sure to look close at your paperwork to know exactly what you are charged with.
Battery of a police officer is a battery committed without the consent of the victim when the offender has reasonable grounds to believe the victim is a police officer acting in the performance of his duty. The defendant must have known or should have known that the victim was a police officer. If the police officer is working undercover at an LSU football game and doesn’t make clear he is an officer before he gets knocked out, there may be a defense that the defendant didn’t know he was law enforcement and should only get charged with regular battery.
Many battery of police officer charges happen in prisons when an inmate hits a correctional officer. Unfortunately for the defendant, the incident is recorded quite often diminishing his defenses. "Battery of a police officer" includes the use of force or violence upon the person of the police officer by throwing feces, urine, blood, saliva, or any form of human waste by an offender while the offender is incarcerated by a court of law and is being detained in any jail, prison, correctional facility, juvenile institution, temporary holding center, halfway house, or detention facility.
"Police officer" shall include commissioned police officers, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, marshals, deputy marshals, correctional officers, federal law enforcement officers, constables, wildlife enforcement agents, state park wardens, and probation and parole officers. It’s pretty clear what a police officer is. Especially in prison, we all know what a correctional officer is. That is where many battery of police officer charges stem from.
Whoever commits the crime of battery of a police officer shall be fined not more than $500 and imprisoned not less than 15 days nor more than 6 months without benefit of suspension of sentence. Although it is a misdemeanor, the tough part of this conviction is that it requires 15 days in jail mandatory. If you are convicted of this charge, you have to do jail time. Your criminal defense attorney may try to get the judge to do home incarceration or see if you get some credit for time served.
If at the time of the commission of the offense the offender is under the jurisdiction and legal custody of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, or is being detained in any jail, prison, correctional facility, juvenile institution, temporary holding center, halfway house, or detention facility, the offender shall be fined not more than $1000 and imprisoned with or without hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence for not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years. Such sentence shall be consecutive to any other sentence imposed for violation of the provisions of any state criminal law. Hitting a correctional officer could keep the defendant in jail much longer. It is a big problem for defendants in this situation because if he is already doing time for a felony and picks up this one, he could lose his good time that he’d been accumulating.
If the battery produces an injury that requires medical attention, the offender shall be fined not more than $1000 or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years, or both. At least 30 days of the sentence imposed shall be served without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. In a normal scenario out on the streets, this battery can turn into a felony very easily.
For example, a police officer at the LSU football game approaches a fan who is making a disturbance. The fan gets to pushing an officer causing the officer to trip and fall and scrape his leg. The officer may get “medical attention” to put a band-aid on his scrape. This is now a felony charge with mandatory 30 days in jail.
There are ways to defend against battery of a police officer in Louisiana, which may include:
Carl Barkemeyer, Criminal Defense Attorney has been defending clients with battery of a police officer charges since 2005. He has successfully defended hundreds of clients. Our practice is a criminal defense practice focused on getting dismissals and reduced charges for our clients. Contact us if you have a new charge.