Woman Slaps Deputy to Go to Jail, Quit Smoking

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on May 13, 2013 8:12 AM

Smoking is a nasty habit and quitting can be a challenge. Some people try the nicotine patch, while others apparently go to jail to quit smoking.

Not rehab, jail.

Etta Mae Lopez decided to slap a sheriff's deputy so she could go to jail, where smoking isn't allowed, the Associated Press reports. (Dear smokers: Does nicotine chewing gum taste that bad?)

Lopez, 31, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery on a peace officer.

"She waited all day for a deputy to come out because she knew if she assaulted a deputy she would go to jail and be inside long enough to quit her smoking habit," the battered deputy told The Sacramento Bee.

A battery on a law enforcement officer occurs when a person intentionally touches an officer in a harmful or offensive manner without consent. The battery must generally occur while the officer is performing his or her duties.

Lopez smacked Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Campoy in the face as he was leaving the main jail at the end of his shift, the AP reports. His shift ending likely isn't an issue because an officer can be considered to be "performing his or her duties" regardless of whether he's technically on or off duty.

Battering a police officer is a "wobbler" offense. That means the battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the injury, the circumstances of the offense, and the defendant's criminal history. Generally, if the officer isn't injured, the battery will be filed as a misdemeanor.

Since Campoy sustained surprise more than anything, Lopez was charged with a misdemeanor. She's been sentenced to 63 days in jail, with credit for the three days she served last week, the AP reports. Let's hope for the Sacramento County Sheriff Department's sake that it's enough time for her to quit smoking.

On a happier note, Campoy tells the Bee he came away from the incident with a nice new Irish name: "Nick O'Derm."

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