Assaulting a Federal Officer Law & Legal Definition


18 USCS § 111, makes it a Federal crime or offense for anyone to forcibly assault a Federal officer while the officer is engaged in the performance of his or her official duties. Purpose of this law is to protect both federal officers and federal functions. It was enacted both as counterpart to state law requiring increased punishment for assaulting peace officer as well as to provide federal forum for trial of offenses involving federal officers.

As per the section whoever forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person designated as an officer or employee of the U.S. while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties; or forcibly assaults or intimidates any person who formerly served as an officer or employee of the U.S. on account of the performance of official duties during such person's term of service shall be guilty of the offense. If the acts amount only to simple assault, then s/he may be fined or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. Where such acts involve physical contact with the victim of that assault or when there is intent to commit another felony, s/he shall be fined or imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

If a deadly or dangerous weapon (including a weapon intended to cause death or danger but that fails to do so by reason of a defective component) is used to commit the offense or when there is infliction of bodily injury the penalty is more. The offender shall be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

It is not necessary to show that the person knew the person being forcibly assaulted was, at that time, a Federal officer carrying out an official duty so long as it is established beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim was, in fact, a Federal officer acting in the course of his duty and that the person willfully committed a forcible assault upon him.

The law as it appears in the statute

18 USCS § 111. Assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees

(a) In general. Whoever--

(1) forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person designated in section 1114 of this title [18 USCS § 1114] while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties; or

(2) forcibly assaults or intimidates any person who formerly served as a person designated in section 1114 [18 USCS § 1114] on account of the performance of official duties during such person's term of service,

shall, where the acts in violation of this section constitute only simple assault, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, and where such acts involve physical contact with the victim of that assault or the intent to commit another felony, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

(b) Enhanced penalty. Whoever, in the commission of any acts described in subsection (a), uses a deadly or dangerous weapon (including a weapon intended to cause death or danger but that fails to do so by reason of a defective component) or inflicts bodily injury, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.