Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer
Any illegal touching of a police officer and certain other officers in Florida may be charged as battery on a law enforcement officer, an offense that is harshly punished as a felony under state law whether or not a weapon was involved. Unlike some other crimes, even if you have no criminal record, you may face serious penalties if you are convicted. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg battery defense attorney Will Hanlon is committed to providing a knowledgeable and tough defense for people accused of crimes.Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer
Under Florida Statute section 784.07, you can be convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer if the prosecution is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements: you intentionally touched or struck a law enforcement officer against their will or caused bodily harm, you knew that the victim was a law enforcement officer, and the law enforcement officer was involved in legally performing their duties when you perpetrated the battery.
The definition of a law enforcement officer includes not only police officers but also correctional officers, correctional probation officers, and people working part-time in these roles or other roles related to corrections or probation. It also includes federal law enforcement officers and others who enforce laws for the Department of Law Enforcement and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Ordinarily, if you are charged with battery against a stranger on the street, it is a first-degree misdemeanor, for which the court may fine you $1,000 and incarcerate you for a maximum of one year in jail. However, if you perpetrate a battery on a police officer or another of the enumerated officers, you face more serious charges and penalties.
If you are charged with knowingly perpetrating a battery on a law enforcement officer or others protected by this statute while they were performing their duties, the offense with which you are charged can be reclassified. This means that if you are charged with an assault, it will be reclassified from a second-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor. If it is a battery, it will be reclassified from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. If it is an aggravated assault, it will be reclassified from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony, and you will be incarcerated for at least three years. If it is aggravated battery, it will be reclassified from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony, and you will be incarcerated for at least five years.
If you are convicted of battery, and while you committed the battery, you had a firearm or destructive device, you will be sentenced to at least three years in prison. If a semiautomatic firearm and its high-capacity detachable box magazine were on you, you will be sentenced to at least seven years in prison.
Although it can be overwhelming to be charged with a crime, particularly against a law enforcement officer, there are defenses that your criminal lawyer may be able to raise on your behalf. For example, there may be a case for self-defense if the officer was not arresting you at the time of the battery. Resisting an officer with violence is not allowed. Generally, even if an officer is performing an unlawful arrest, you cannot resist, but you are allowed to defend yourself if an officer uses excessive force on you. For another example, if the officer was not involved in executing a lawful duty, your attorney may be able to show that the prosecution cannot meet its high burden with regard to a key element of the charge. Similarly, if we can show that you did not know that the person was a law enforcement officer because they were in plain clothes, it may be possible to negate the important element of knowledge.Hire a Knowledgeable St. Petersburg Attorney to Mount a Strong Defense
If you are looking for a lawyer with experience defending against charges of battery on a law enforcement officer in St. Petersburg, you should contact Hanlon Law. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation since 1994. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or complete our online form to set up your appointment.