Attacking a police officer means causing injury to a law enforcement officer (in some states, battery or an attack is considered the attempt to or threatening to cause injury). This is a very serious crime and can bring you harsh penalties. If you were involved in such an act in New Mexico, make sure you seek the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Assault or Battery?
Injuring or trying to injure another may be called a “battery” or an “assault”. In New Mexico, the crime of assault doesn’t involve actual physical contact. Assault is interpreted as an attempt to do a physical attack or as intended threats, words, or actions that cause a person to feel afraid of impending violence. If you try to hit someone or threatening to hit them it’s an assault.
Proving Battery Against a Police Officer
To convict a person of the crime of battery against an officer the prosecutor must show that the defendant caused an injury (or, threatened or tried to cause injury) to a law enforcement officer who was doing official responsibilities and the defendant knew or had reason to know the victim was a police officer.
Injury and Severe Injury
In some states, the defendant must actually injure the officer. The degree of injury can be even the smallest cut or bruise. Causing serious injury to a police officer, like breaking a bone, or shooting them, is a very serious crime, which will bring long prison time.
Law Enforcement Officers
Battery against an officer can be committed against different law enforcement officials, such as police officers, sheriff officers, and correctional officers.
In some cases attorney generals, state employees, and district attorneys are also protected.
In most states, the crime of battery against an officer can be done only when the officer is doing official duties or acting as a police officer. The officer doesn’t need to be working as long as they are performing a job duty. Some examples of official duties include arresting even if it’s an illegal arrest, conducting an investigation, or directing traffic.
Punishment for Battery Against an Officer
Punishment differs from state to state and depends mostly on the circumstances of the crime.
If you attacked, shot, or injured an officer you can expect to face prison time, restitution to the victim for their injuries, probation, and high fines in thousands of dollars.
Battery against law enforcement can be a misdemeanor (where you get a punishment of up to one year in jail) or a felony (the punishment is one or more years in jail). If it was a more serious battery, then the penalty will be harsher. If the officer had severe injuries, you can expect to get as much as five to twenty-five jail time in most states. If you commit a battery against an officer in New Mexico you’ll be guilty of a fourth-degree felony.
What if An Officer Stops You
If an officer stops you, you should not resist the arrest, even if you’re sure that you didn’t do anything wrong. You may feel confused and scared, but you don’t have the right to resist an arrest. Just follow the officer’s arrest and then you can call your criminal defense attorney and start the process. When you’re getting arrested, don’t forget to keep your hands visible at all times, and don’t make any sudden movements. If you resist arrest, the officer is allowed to use force against you. Even the smallest physical resistance may lead to a charge of battery against an officer.
So, no matter why you’re pulled over (DUI, speeding, regular check), just collaborate with the officer. If the officer is approaching you at a crime scene, don’t run, don’t try to explain things, or try to defend yourself. There is a time and place for that. It’s your obligation to stay calm. Avoid arguing, or insulting the officer, since any word you say will be used against you. Even if you’re responsible for an auto accident, or another type of crime (shooting, battery, robbery), you should calm down and let the officer do their duty.
If you were recently involved in criminal activity and ended up attacking or threatening to attack the officer, you should seek legal help as soon as possible. Our team of attorneys at FBD Law will answer every question you have, review your case, and prepare your defense. Allow professionals to help you get the mildest possible penalty.