Penal Code Section 149 – Assault Under Color of Authority1

Penal Code Section 149 punishes public officers who unlawfully beat or assault any person under color of authority but without lawful necessity.

Officers who use excessive force may qualify for prosecution under Section 149.2

Punishment under Penal Code Section 149:

  • A fine of up to $10,000.
  • A Misdemeanor charge carrying up to one year in jail.
  • A felony charge with a grant of probation and up to one year a county jail, or by imprisonment for 16 months, 2 years or three years in a felony jail facility (county jail) as set forth in Penal Code Section 1170(h).

About the Author:

William Haney is a Ventura County criminal defense attorney and former supervising prosecutor in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.  He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Pepperdine University School of law.

Sources Cited / Notes:

1 Article first published April 29, 2018.
2 See People v. Dukes (1928) 90 Cal.App. 657, 659.  See also People v. Plesniasrki (1971) 22 Cal.App.3d 108 [officer assaults inmate during booking process]