Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer

Experienced Violent Crime Lawyer Assisting Clearwater Residents

Battery on a police officer and certain other officers is a felony. It occurs if you intentionally hit or touch an officer against their will or in such a way that bodily harm is caused. It may be charged in connection with other crimes associated with the officer's performance of their duties, such as resisting an officer with violence. If you are charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, it is important to retain an experienced attorney. At Hanlon Law, Clearwater battery defense lawyer Will Hanlon is dedicated to providing a thorough defense and guarding the rights of the accused.

Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer

Florida Statute section 784.07 requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally struck or touched an officer against their will or such that you caused bodily harm, you knew that the person whom you were striking or touching was an officer, and the officer was legally performing their legal duties when the battery was perpetrated.

Usually, when you are facing a charge involving battery against a civilian, you can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This means that you may be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Battery on a police officer or one of the other types of law enforcement officers whom the statute protects results in any charge being reclassified to one of a higher degree. Accordingly, if you are charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, you will be charged with a third-degree felony. If the crime with which you would normally be charged is aggravated battery, you will be charged not with a second-degree felony as you usually would be, but with a first-degree felony. You can be placed in prison for a minimum of five years.

Moreover, if you were carrying a firearm or destructive device when you were perpetrating the battery, your sentence will be a minimum of three years. Seven years is the minimum sentence if you carried a semiautomatic firearm and a high-capacity detachable box magazine at the time of the battery on a law enforcement officer.

You may find it unnerving to be charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, but you should know that a Clearwater criminal attorney may be able to craft persuasive arguments on your behalf. In some cases, it is possible to negate or raise a doubt about an element of the charge. For example, it may be possible to attack the element that the officer was lawfully performing a legal duty. If the frisk or detention was illegal, there should be no conviction. This type of defense cannot be raised if the officer was arresting you, however. You are never justified in striking or touching a law enforcement officer to resist arrest by an officer who you know is a law enforcement officer or who seems to be such an officer, even if the officer's forcefulness is not justified.

On the other hand, police brutality is something from which you can protect yourself, although you cannot resist. For example, if you put up your hands to protect yourself from a cop's beating when you are being detained for disorderly conduct, and you are then charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, we may be able to argue for dismissal or a reduction of the charge on the basis that the officer used excessive force and you were defending yourself.

In order to convict you, the prosecutor is supposed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew that the other person was a law enforcement officer. If there is an entrapment scenario in connection with Internet sex crimes, for example, and then you are confronted in person by an officer who is not in uniform, it may be possible to argue that you were unaware in good faith that the other person was a police officer or another member of law enforcement. You may still be charged with simple battery or resisting an officer with violence, but the reclassification may not apply.

Retain a Clearwater Attorney to Fight a Charge of a Violent Crime

Battery on a law enforcement officer is a serious crime that may be vigorously prosecuted and punished. You should secure counsel as soon as possible. If you have been charged with battery on a law enforcement officer in Clearwater, you should retain a tough and experienced lawyer. Will Hanlon has aggressively represented the accused for more than 25 years. Contact Hanlon Law at (727) 897-5413 or by completing our online form.