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Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer

Accused of Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer? Call Our Miami Battery Attorneys Today

Battery on a law enforcement officer is a more serious criminal charge than battery on someone who is not an officer. Under Section 784.07(2)(b) of the Florida Statutes, battery on a law enforcement officer is a third-degree felony, while battery on a non-officer is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer (F.S. § 784.07(2)(d)) is also an upgraded charge—a first-degree felony—while aggravated battery on a non-officer is a lesser second-degree felony. Sometimes referred to as battery on an LEO, a conviction may result in a lengthy prison sentence and a heavy fine.

If you were arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer under F.S. § 784.07(2)(b) or aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer under F.S. § 784.07(2)(d), you should consult with a criminal defense attorney about your case as soon as possible.

An experienced attorney familiar with defending against accusations of battery or aggravated battery on a LEO can assist you in your defense. There may be possible defenses to the charge or other evidence may be uncovered that leads to a reduction or dismissal of the charges.

Hubbs Law Firm is experienced in handling charges of battery or aggravated battery on a LEO throughout the Miami area. E.J. Hubbs represents people throughout Miami-Dade County, including Hialeah, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Kendall, Homestead, Tamiami, Doral, Fontainebleau, North Miami, South Miami and anywhere else in the Greater Miami area.

E.J. Hubbs is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar. Board certification is reserved only for attorneys that complete the stringent board certification requirements of the Florida Bar. Only 1% of attorneys in Florida meet these requirements for criminal trial law.

Contact Hubbs Law Firm at (305) 570-4802 today to schedule an appointment with our qualified attorneys, who will explain all the aspects of your case, including the charges, penalties, and possible defenses that may apply. Your initial consultation is free.

Understanding Your Charges

When the alleged victim of a battery or aggravated battery charge is a law enforcement officer, Florida law reclassifies the charge as more serious because the alleged victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties (See Knowles v. State, 65 So. 3d 597, 598-99 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011)).

According to the Florida Statutes, Title XLVI, Chapter 784, Section 784.07, a law enforcement officer includes a local police officer, a county sheriff's deputy, or a state police officer; a correctional officer, a correctional probation officer, a part-time law enforcement officer, a part-time correctional officer, an auxiliary law enforcement officer, and an auxiliary correctional officer, as those terms are respectively defined in F.S. § 943.10, and any county probation officer; an employee or agent of the Department of Corrections who supervises or provides services to inmates; an officer of the Florida Commission on Offender Review; a federal law enforcement officer as defined in F.S. § 901.1505; and law enforcement personnel of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the Department of Law Enforcement)

Other law enforcement officials include:

  • A firefighter
  • An emergency medical care provider
  • A railroad special officer
  • A traffic accident investigation officer
  • A non-sworn law enforcement agency employee who is certified as an agency inspector
  • A blood alcohol analyst, or a breath test operator while such employee is in uniform and engaged in processing, testing, evaluating, analyzing, or transporting a person who is detained or under arrest for DUI
  • A law enforcement explorer
  • A traffic infraction enforcement officer
  • A parking enforcement specialist
  • A person licensed as a security officer as defined in F.S. 493.6101 and wearing a uniform that bears at least one patch or emblem that is visible at all times that clearly identifies the employing agency and that clearly identifies the person as a licensed security officer; or
  • A security officer employed by the board of trustees of a community college

Definitions of Battery & Aggravated Battery in Florida

Section 784.03 of the Florida Statutes defines "battery" as when a person:

  • Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or
  • Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person

Section 784.045 of the Florida Statutes defines aggravated battery as:

  • Battery; and either
  • The battery was committed while using a deadly weapon; or
  • The person who allegedly committed the battery intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement

A deadly weapon is defined as a weapon that "is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm."

Elements to Prove for a Conviction of Battery or Aggravated Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer

The Florida Supreme Court's Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, Section 8.11, require that for a person to be convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer, the state prosecutor must prove the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Defendant intentionally touched or struck victim against his or her will or intentionally caused bodily harm to the victim;
  • Victim was a law enforcement officer under the definitions in F.S. 784.07;
  • Defendant knew the victim was a law enforcement officer under the definitions in 784.07; and
  • Victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties when the battery was committed

The Florida Supreme Court's Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, Section 8.13, require that for a person to be convicted of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, the state prosecutor must prove the following five elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Defendant intentionally touched or struck victim against his or her will or intentionally caused bodily harm to the victim (the definition of battery);
  • Defendant, in committing a battery:
    • Intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the victim; or
    • Used a deadly weapon;
  • Victim was a law enforcement officer under the definitions in F.S. 784.07;
  • Defendant knew the victim was a law enforcement officer under the definitions in 784.07; and
  • Victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties when the battery was committed

Note: The law enforcement officer should not be referred to by name when jury instructions are given for battery on a LEO or aggravated battery on a LEO. Instead, the instruction must state the class of officers to which the victim belongs, such as deputy sheriff, probation officer, correction officer, etc. (See Wright v. State, 586 So. 2d 1024 (Fla. 1991)).

Penalties for Battery & Aggravated Battery on a LEO in Florida

Battery on a law enforcement officer is a third-degree felony in Florida (upgraded from the first-degree misdemeanor charge of battery on a non-officer). A third-degree felony is punishable upon conviction by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, as well as the loss of certain civil rights that accompany a felony conviction, such as the right to vote or own a gun.

Aggravated battery on a LEO is a first-degree felony (upgraded from the second-degree felony charge of aggravated battery on a non-officer). A first-degree felony is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

(See Florida Statutes, §§ 775.082 and 775.083.)

If you are not a United States citizen, a conviction for battery on a law enforcement officer or aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer will result in deportation from the U.S. if it is determined to be an aggravated felony under immigration law.

Possible Legal Defenses for Battery or Aggravated Battery on a LEO

In an altercation between a citizen and a law enforcement officer, the officer will sometimes use excessive force, or otherwise act inappropriately or engage in conduct that is illegal. The officer may then try to claim that the defendant was the aggressor.

Several possible legal defenses may apply when a person is charged with battery or aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, including:

  • Self-defense — Self-defense is a legitimate defense in non-arrest scenarios if the officer was not engaged in a legal duty. Self-defense is always a legitimate defense if the officer acts with excessive force. However, prosecutors (who are themselves law enforcement officers) are often unlikely to consider the defendant’s version of events.
  • Officer not engaged in legal duty — To commit the crime of battery on a law enforcement officer, the officer must have been in the execution of a legal duty. Some examples of a legal duty would be detaining a suspect during a criminal investigation, searching a vehicle after developing probable cause, or searching a home pursuant to a search warrant. If the officer was wrong about whether he or she was in the execution of a legal duty during his or her investigation, the charges could result in a dismissal or acquittal.
  • Lack of knowledge that a person was a law enforcement officer — The State must prove that a defendant had knowledge that the person was a law enforcement officer. Sometimes you are forced to react very quickly during confrontations where you need to defend yourself. It might be possible that you made physical contact with the officer before you had the chance to observe him or her or did not know he or she was a police officer because he or she was not in uniform. If you did not know that the person was a law enforcement officer, you could receive a dismissal or acquittal.

Let Hubbs Law Firm Fight for You

If you were charged with battery on a law enforcement officer or aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer in Miami, Florida or Miami-Dade County, Florida, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case.

At Hubbs Law Firm, we defend people charged with battery, aggravated battery, or similar violent crimes allegedly committed against a law enforcement officer anywhere in Miami-Dade County. Hubbs Law Firm represents clients in Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Hialeah, Miami Gardens, North Miami, South Miami, Kendall, Homestead, Palmetto Bay and other communities in Miami-Dade County.

Hubbs Law Firm will fight for your rights by mounting an aggressive defense and pursuing a reduction or outright dismissal of the charges you face, if possible.

Call our Miami battery on a law enforcement officer attorneys today at (305) 570-4802 to schedule a free initial appointment to discuss your case.

Additional Resources

Attorneys E.J. & Erika Hubbs As professional defense attorneys, we take every case personally give every client the deliberate care it deserves. Our clients become part of our family and we fight relentlessly for their rights. Read more about us to find out how we can help you. 

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