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Battery on a Police Officer (LEO)

There are certain scenarios that may result in heated emotions. Say for instance the police are called and a person has been accused of an unlawful act. If the suspect conducts violence against the officer by physically hitting them, they can be charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.

This offense is a form of battery. However, due to the victim being considered an officer or person of authoritative figure, the penalties are more severe than a standard battery offense. Due to the nature of the crime, prosecutors will try to push for the harshest of penalties. In some instances, there may even be a mandatory minimum sentence you are required to serve.

When faced with these consequences, you should consider hiring a defense attorney in Panama City, FL. A lawyer experienced in violent crimes can help determine any defense strategies that can help fight off a conviction.

Bay County Battery Defense Lawyers

Were you recently arrested for allegedly conducting violence against a police officer? You should take this charge seriously and prioritize finding quality defense counsel. Depending on the surrounding circumstances of your case, you could be facing extremely harsh consequences.

A defense attorney can help find any inconsistencies in the State’s case to try and get the charges against you lessened or dismissed. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm today to receive a free consultation. We represent clients in Panama City and the surrounding areas in Florida’s Panhandle. Call our office at (850) 681-7777.

What is Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer?

Battery is the criminal offense where a person has intentionally touched another person without their consent and has knowingly caused that victim harm.

A law enforcement officer is defined as any of the following:

  • Correctional officer;
  • Correctional probation officer;
  • Auxiliary law enforcement officer;
  • County probation officer;
  • Officer with Florida Commission on the Offender Review;
  • Federal law enforcement officer;
  • Law enforcement personnel with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;
  • Officer with the Department of Environmental Protection; or
  • The Department of Law Enforcement.

Under Florida Statute Section 784.07(2), a person who has committed battery against a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical care provider, hospital personnel, or other person of specific authority who is engaged in the lawful performance of their duties can be charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.

The Florida Criminal Jury Instructions explain the following elements that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for the prosecution to secure a conviction:

  1. The defendant:
    1. Actually and intentionally touched or struck a victim against their will; and
    2. Intentionally caused the victim bodily harm;
  2. The victim was either a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical provider, traffic accident investigation officer, traffic infraction enforcement officer, parking enforcement specialist, security officer employed by the board of trustees at a higher education program, non-sworn law enforcement agency employee who was certified as an agency inspector, blood alcohol analyst, breath test operator while such employee was in uniform and engaged in processing, testing, evaluating, analyzing, or transporting a person who was detained or under arrest for DUI, railroad special officer, or a licensed security officer;
  3. The defendant knew that the victim was a law enforcement officer or other person of authority; and
  4. At the time the battery incident occurred, the victim was engaged in the lawful performance of their duties.

Penalties for Battery Against Law Enforcement in Tallahassee

Florida law provides that any person accused of committing assault or battery against a law enforcement officer (or any other authorized person specified under Florida Statute Section 784.07) shall have the standard battery charge reclassified to the next higher degree

A standard battery offense is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. That means in a case where a defendant is accused of touching or striking a law enforcement officer, they would be charged with a third-degree felony. If the State secures a conviction, the defendant can be sentenced to:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines; and
  • Up to five (5) years in prison.

Aggravated Battery of Law Enforcement

A defendant who has been accused of aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer can face enhanced penalties.

Aggravated battery is defined as a physical altercation that results in serious bodily injury, permanent disability, or in a case where the victim was pregnant, and the defendant knew that prior to committing the violent act.

If a defendant is charged with committing aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer, the offense would be reclassified from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony. If the State secures a conviction, the defendant can be sentenced to:

  • Up to $10,000 in fines; and
  • Up to 30 years in prison.

Important: A defendant who is convicted of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of five (5) years in prison.

Firearm Enhancements

Under Florida Statute Section 784.07(3), a person who is convicted of battery against an officer who possessed a firearm or other weapons can face mandatory minimum sentences, such as follows:

  • Defendant possessed a firearm or destructive device during commission of battery offense – Mandatory minimum sentence of three (3) years in prison.
  • Defendant possessed a semiautomatic firearm with a high-capacity detachable box machine or machine gun during commission of battery offense – Mandatory minimum sentence of eight (8) years in prison.

Contact a defense lawyer if you have been accused of a battery crime. There may be defense strategies applicable to fight against a conviction.

Defenses to a Battery Charge

The following provides several example defenses to a battery charge in Florida:

  • Defendant was acting in self-defense to an officer acting out of their duties;
  • The officer who was a victim to the battery offense was not engaged in their lawful duties when the incident occurred;
  • The alleged battery incident was incidental touching caused by the defendant attempting to prevent harm from the officer or another person;
  • The defendant lacked knowledge that the alleged victim was a law enforcement officer or other person of authority at the time of the offense; or
  • The law enforcement officer had used excessive force against the defendant.

To discuss all potential defense strategies to combat a battery conviction, contact the attorneys with Pumphrey Law firm.

Contact Pumphrey Law Firm

It is understandably stressful to be in a scenario where police are involved. If you are encountering law enforcement, it’s important to know your rights. If you’ve been accused of committing a violent act against a police officer or other authoritative figure, consider hiring a criminal defense attorney in Panama City.

Having a legal representative on your side has immense benefits. The lawyers with Pumphrey Law Firm have decades of combined knowledge and experience. We can review your case during a free consultation to make the best plan of action. Our goal is to get your charges lessened or dismissed completely. Call (850) 681-7777 today to speak with our team.

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