The crime of battery on a person by an inmate, also called battery by inmate on non-inmate, is found at California penal code section 243.15.
PC 243.15 Law
Per California law, PC 243.15 Every person confined in…, or serving a sentence in, a city or county jail, industrial farm, or industrial road camp in [California], who commits a battery upon the person of any individual who is not… an inmate, is guilty of battery by an inmate on a non-inmate (PC 243.15 Abbrev.).
Example: David is serving time in West Valley Detention Center, a local San Bernardino County Jail. While serving his jail sentence, he purposefully pushes Goliath, a visitor to the county jail. Goliath is not an inmate in the jail and Goliath is only at the jail to visit another inmate. Result: David may be charged with PC 243.15 battery by an inmate against a non-inmate.
Prison Crimes Not Included: PC 243.15 is not intended to cover assault and battery crimes that occur in California state prisons. Rather, PC 243.15 only applies to local county jails, work release program prisoners, county farm prisoners, and inmates serving or confined in local city or county jails.
PC 243.15 Punishment
Battery by an inmate on a non-inmate is classified as a wobbler offense. A wobbler offense is a classification of crimes that may be charged either as a felony, or alternatively as a misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the case and the criminal history of the defendant, if any. For more information, see Wobbler Crimes & Felony v. Misdemeanor Crimes.
Felony Sentence: A felony conviction for PC 243.15 may result in a jail sentence of up to three (3) years (maximum jail sentence). Whether the defendant serves a jail sentence, as opposed to a non-jail probation sentence, and the length of the jail sentence depends largely on the facts of the case and the criminal history of the defendant, if any.
PC 1170 Sentencing: Incarceration after a felony conviction of battery on an inmate by a non-inmate may be served in a local county jail, as opposed to a California state prison. Also, the jail sentence associated with a felony (or misdemeanor) PC 243.15 conviction may be either split (served partially out of jail on work release), and/or suspended (not served unless and until the defendant violates a term of his out-of-jail sentence. For more information, see PC 1170(h) Sentence.
Misdemeanor Sentence: A misdemeanor conviction for penal code 243.15 may result in a jail sentence of up to one year, or a probation sentence, depending on the fact and circumstances of the case.
Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is available in both felony and misdemeanor PC 243.15 cases, but a probation sentence is not guaranteed. Whether the defendant receives a probation sentence, with or without some possible incarceration, defends on the fact and circumstances of the case, the perceived ability of the defendant to serve a non-jail probation sentence, and more.
Note: A probation sentence for a felony conviction of battery by an inmate on a non-inmate is called formal probation, which is supervised by a probation officer. A probation sentence for a misdemeanor conviction of battery by an inmate (prisoner) by a non-inmate (non-prisoner) is called summary probation, court probation, or informal probation, and the probation terms are monitored by the court. For more information, see Misdemeanor or Felony Probation.
Other Punishment: In addition to a possible jail or probation sentence, if convicted of PC 243.15, the defendant will suffer the following additional penalties and punishments: civil lawsuits (for battery), restitution to the victim, criminal protective order (CPO), court fines and fees, professional licensure consequences (i.e., doctors, dentists, lawyers, teachers, CPAs, etc.), immigration consequences, and more.
PC 243.15 Defense
Common defenses to PC 243.15 crimes include alibi defense, insufficient evidence, self-defense, defense of others, coerced confession, illegal search and seizure, insanity, severe intoxication, claim of right, jury nullification, and more.
Note: The fact that the victim did not suffer injury or pain is not a defense to an inmate’s battery (or assault) of a non-inmate.
Post-Conviction Options: After a conviction for PC 243.15, the defendant may take advantage of certain post-conviction options, including appeal the criminal conviction, withdraw a no contest plea, withdraw a guilty plea, petition the court for a certificate of rehabilitation, apply for expungement of the criminal charges, and more.
For more information on the crime of battery by an inmate on a non-inmate (prisoner battery on non-prisoner), or California penal code 243.15 PC, contact one of our highly experienced and successful criminal defense lawyers today. We have handled hundreds of misdemeanor and felony cases in the Inland Empire, including the cities of Moreno Valley, Adelanto, Fontana, Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Rialto, Yucaipa, and more. Call today!
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