Battery on a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest In California
B. Battery on a Police Officer, Resisting Arrest
Penal Code section 243, subdivision (b) states, in relevant part: " When a battery is committed against the person of a peace officer . . . engaged in the performance of his or her duties . . .,and the person committing the offense knows . . . that the victim is a peace officer . . . engaged in the performance of his or her duties . . .,the battery is punishable as a misdemeanor."
Section 148, subdivision (a)(1) states, in relevant part:
"Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer . . . in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment . . . shall be punished as a misdemeanant."
Before a person can be convicted of either of these offenses there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer was acting lawfully at the time the offense against him was committed. (In re Manuel G. (1997) 16 Cal. 4th 805, 815, 941 P.2d 880; see also People v. Gonzalez (1990) 51 Cal. 3d 1179, 1214-1215, 275 Cal. Rptr. 729, 800 P.2d 1159 prosecution must prove every element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt.) "
The rule flows from the premise that because an officer has no duty to take illegal action, he or she is not engaged in "duties" for purposes of an offense defined in such terms, if the officer's conduct is unlawful. . . ." (In re Manuel G., supra, at p. 815.)