Assault Federal Officer

18 U.S. Code § 111 – Assaulting or Resisting a Federal Officer

It's a federal crime to commit an assault, resist, or impede certain officers or employees, which is defined under 18 U.S. Code 111 and covers simple assault, aggravated assault, and serious assault with a deadly weapon.

18 U.S. Code § 111 – Assaulting or Resisting a Federal Officer
Under 18 U.S. Code 111, it's a crime to assault or resist a federal officer performing their duties.

This federal offense could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the details of the alleged assault. To convict somebody of simple assault, the federal prosecutor must prove several factors called the “elements of the crime.”

These factors include showing that you intentionally and forcibly assaulted a federal officer or interfered with them while performing their official duties.

A simple assault doesn't require physical contact with the federal agent, meaning you can violate this law without touching them.

18 U.S. Code 111 says, “whoever forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person (or formerly served) designated in section 1114 of this title who are engaged in the performance of official duties, shall be fined and imprisoned….”

Our federal criminal defense attorneys will review this statute further below.

Who Is a Federal Officer?

As noted, 18 U.S.C. 111 makes it a federal offense to assault any federal officer, agent, government employee, or military member (uniformed services).

They could be working on a government job or former employees. Some examples of who is considered a “federal officer” in the context of the law include the following:

  • FBI agents,
  • ATF agents,
  • ICE agents,
  • Border patrol,
  • United States marshals,
  • IRS employees,
  • Postal workers,
  • Federal judges.

What Are the Related Federal Laws?

18 U.S. Code Chapter 7 Assault has several federal statutes that are related to 18 U.S. Code 111 assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees, including the following: 

  • 18 U.S.C. 112 - protection of foreign officials and official guests;
  • 18 U.S.C. 113 - assaults occurring within the maritime jurisdiction;
  • 18 U.S.C. 114 - maiming that occurs within the maritime jurisdiction;
  • 18 U.S.C. 115 - retaliating against any federal official's family members;
  • 18 U.S.C. 116 - prohibits female genital mutilation; five years in prison;
  • 18 U.S.C. 117 - domestic assault by a habitual offender;
  • 18 U.S.C. 118 - interference with certain protective functions;
  • 18 U.S.C. 119 - protection of individuals performing specific official duties for making restricted info available with intent to intimidate.

What Are the Penalties for 18 U.S.C 111?

This statute outlines certain types of assault against a federal officer and the appropriate charges and penalties.

Penalties for Defenses for Assaulting or Resisting a Federal Officer
A simple assault of a federal officer carries a $100,000 fine and up to one year in prison.

For example, simple assault is forcibly assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, or interfering with federal officers while performing their duties. As noted, physical contact or injury is not required for a conviction.

Simple federal assault is a Class A misdemeanor that carries up to 1 year in jail and fines of up to $100,000.

Serious assault with no deadly weapon is similar to simple assault but requires that you make actual physical contact with them and with the intent to commit another felony. Serious assault without a weapon is a felony with up to 8 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

The most severe type of assault on a federal officer is serious assault with a deadly weapon or causing serious bodily injury.

This type of case can be filed when you make physical contact with a federal officer and use a deadly weapon or cause them serious bodily injury during the commission of the crime. Serious assault with a deadly weapon is a Class C felony with up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

What Are the Defenses for 18 U.S.C 111?

Federal laws are harsh when dealing with assault of federal agents. For example, it does not matter if they are retired, and there are no exceptions, such as being aware they were not a federal officer.

Defenses for Assaulting or Resisting a Federal Officer
Contact our law firm for legal guidance.

However, as discussed below, an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can develop different strategies to obtain the best possible outcome.

For example, maybe we can argue that you did not intend to harm the federal officer or impede their duties. Simply put, while your behavior may have been interpreted as assault, you had no intention of doing so.

Maybe you can argue that you had a reasonable belief that they were not a federal officer. Perhaps they were an undercover agent who didn't show identification.

Maybe we can argue that you acted in self-defense or defense of others. Perhaps the federal officer was using excessive force. But, on the other hand, maybe you were justified in using reasonable force to protect yourself or another person.

Maybe we can argue that the details of the incident are exaggerated or false. In other words, while you may have misbehaved, the report's details are inaccurate.

Suppose your guilt is not in doubt. Perhaps we can negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the federal prosecutor in that case. Maybe it's possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

You can contact our law firm for a free case evaluation by phone or using the contact form. The Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles. California.

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