Emergency care technicians save lives. They are often the first responders to any sort of accident scene or scene where violent injury has occurred. Normally, we try to get out of their way and let them go about the business of saving lives.
But sometimes at crime and accident scenes, people are distraught. And when emotions run high, we can get in the way of the very people we need. In other cases, when a violent scene is still active, emergency technicians can get hurt as they try to do their job. An assault and battery perpetrated against an emergency technician can make a bad situation worse in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Law Prohibits Assault and Battery Against Emergency Care Technicians
Oklahoma law defines assault and battery against emergency care technicians as the willful delay, obstruction, or interference with an emergency medical technician or other emergency medical care provider in the attempt or performance of emergency medical care or treatment or in their journey to or from the scene of a medical emergency. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 650.3.
This could occur as a result of a person trying to pull an emergency technician from one patient to attend to another at the scene of an accident once the technician has already started to give emergency treatment. It could also occur as a result of a person blocking the way or preventing access to an accident scene. This could happen when the person who caused the accident is trying to flee the scene without being caught.
In and of itself, this crime is usually treated as a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county for as many as six months. And you could be fined as much as $500.
Adding Assault and Battery Makes the Crime a Felony
While the above crime deals mainly with interference, if a person commits an unjustified assault, battery, or both upon an emergency medical care provider in the performance of their duties, the assailant could be convicted of a felony. That crime is punishable by up to as many as two years in prison. And you could be fined as much as $1,000. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 650.4.
‘Emergency medical care provider’ includes doctors, residents, interns, nurses, nurse aides, ambulance attendants and operators, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and members of a hospital security force.
Under Oklahoma law, an assault is an intentional attempt or threat of force or violence against another person. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 641. A battery is the intentional and unlawful use of force or violence against another. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 642.
In the above scenario, rather than interfering by pulling an arm, the defendant threatens to punch the EMT. Then the defendant punches the EMT to get the EMT to stop taking care of a patient in order to take care of the defendant’s wife (who was also was also injured in the accident) despite being told that another EMT would attend to her. That would constitute an assault and battery.
In order to get a conviction, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements:
- an assault, battery, or an assault and battery;
- upon an emergency medical care provider;
- without justifiable or excusable cause;
- with intent to do bodily harm;
- while the emergency medical care provider was performing medical care duties. OUJI-CR 4-20
The crime is treated even more severely if the assault and battery are either aggravated or done with a firearm or other deadly weapon, and is unjustified or not excused. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 650.5.
In Oklahoma, aggravated assault and battery is defined as an assault in which great bodily injury is inflicted on the victim or an assault by a perpetrator who is strong or in robust health against a victim who is elderly or otherwise incapacitated. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 646.
The crime is a felony punishable by as much as one year in prison. And you could be fined as much as $1,000. In our scenario above, let’s say the defendant threatens the EMT with a baseball bat to get the EMT to stop working on the patient and then proceeds to hit the EMT with the baseball bat in order to get him to stop. Now the defendant could be convicted of aggravated assault and battery against an emergency technician.
Most defenses to this crime revolve around lack of intent, and having a justifiable or excusable cause for the interference or assault and battery. Lack of intent may be shown if the assault and battery were accidental or if there was no intent to harm the EMT. Justifiable or excusable assault and battery might be shown by an accident scene that is extremely loud or chaotic. The contact may be necessary to gain the EMT’s attention.
Small facts really matter in building a strong defense. Bring your case to an experienced Muskogee criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
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