Threatening a government worker is serious business. Your frustration at the DMV or with the officer who is writing you a ticket or serving you with a restraining order or other court papers can sometimes boil over into something much more serious than the original matter.

Threatening a government worker is a felony. In order to establish a violation of Penal Code § 69, the government must present sufficient evidence to prove that the perpetrator attempted to or did deter or prevent an executive officer from performing any duty imposed upon such officer by law. (PC § 69; CALCRIM 2651)

Sometimes, a violation is clear. If one threatens an officer who is writing them a ticket, the officer could certainly seek prosecution for a Penal Code section 69 violation. But what if the threat involves some future act of the officer? This is where the real litigation begins.

The government may suggest police have general law enforcement duties that were interfered with by virtue of some threat. While this claim is routinely accepted by Orange County, Los Angles, Riverside and San Diego judges, they are all wrong. This claim has been rejected by the United States Supreme Court, and must be challenged by the right lawyer in court. The Supreme Court, in allowing police to escape civil liability for inaction, has held that in all states police have no duty to enforce the law, only power to do so (Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales (2005) 545 U.S. 748, 763-765). California agrees; police officers have the authority, but not the ‘duty,’ to enforce the law.” (Adams v. City of Fremont (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 243, 273, fn. 25.) Additionally, it appears that there must be more factual specificity than simply some general law enforcement duty for the defense to know against what to defend. It is not merely a statutory matter, but it is a matter of due process notice.

Note further that the duty rule does not focus on the defendant’s mental state. Instead, it “requires that the officer’s lawful conduct be established as an objective fact; it does not establish any requirement with respect to the defendant’s mens rea.” (People v. Jenkins (2000) 22 Cal.4th 900, 1020.) The defendant’s belief about whether the officer was or was not acting lawfully is irrelevant. (Id at p. 1021.) 175.)

Threats against the government can and must be defended vigorously. Mr. Bruno has the experience and track record to successfully defend these charges.

Prestigiously located in Newport Beach, just a few yards from the Orange County Superior Court, Harbor Justice Center, Keith J. Bruno represents individuals who have been arrested or charged with all crimes, including crimes against the government. Mr. Bruno has great experience addressing and winning “crimes against the government” cases. Mr. Bruno is reliable, accountable and a winner. Your call is welcome to discuss your case and how to address the charges. You cannot beat the government alone, and you cannot beat the government with the wrong attorney.

If you or your loved one has been arrested and faces charges for any crime, such as criminal threats or threats against a government worker, Mr. Bruno looks forward to winning your case. The stakes are high, and you must demand nothing less than excellence in your defense.

If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact BRUNO│NALU, a law firm serving all of California, including Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. Mr. Bruno will speak to you directly and he will personally represent you throughout the case. You will get a free face-to-face consultation and an in-depth strategy meeting. You will have found your attorney.