With the number of school shootings increasing in the US, it is important to understand that a perpetrator can face multiple charges, with one of them being assaulting a school employee. If any individual assaults a person that is a school employee, with a weapon, they face a criminal charge. According to California Penal Code 245.5 PC, to do so is a serious crime.
Now, this charge does not just apply in the extremes of school shootings, but also whenever a person assaults a school employee. This kind of assault occurs when a defendant uses a deadly weapon, firearm, or stun gun/taser in order to injure the victim and when the defendant knows the victim is a school employee who during the crime is engaged in their duties. Therefore, using a gun to assault the employee falls under this penal code, as well as using any other tool that can be deadly. The most important aspect of this crime is the defendant’s knowledge that the victim was a school employee. Otherwise, another type of assault charge could be applied.
If the prosecution provides evidence to meet its burden, the defendant faces a wobbler offense. Based on the context of the crime and the weapon used to assault the school employee, the defendant can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. If a firearm (like a normal handgun) is used for the assault, the defendant could face up to eight years in state prison. If instead of a firearm a stun gun or a taser is used, the defendant faces up to four years in prison. However, the use of any other deadly weapon can result in five years in prison. Depending on the case, some of these sentences can decrease to spending only a year in county jail. Regardless of whether the defendant faces a prison or jail sentence, the person should consult with an experienced criminal attorney in order to understand the rights at stake.