Florida law makes penalties stricter for assault or battery of a law enforcement officer. Under Florida Statutes 784.07(2), when you are charged with knowingly committing an assault or battery upon a law enforcement officer, the charge will be reclassified as follows:
(a) Second degree misdemeanor assault will be a first degree misdemeanor
(b) First degree misdemeanor battery will be a third degree felony
(c) Third degree felony aggravated assault will be a second degree felony with a minimum term of imprisonment for 3 years.
(d) Second degree felony aggravated battery will be a first degree felony with a minimum term of imprisonment of 5 years.
If you had a firearm or destructive device as defined in F.S. 790.001 during a battery, it carries a minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years. A semiautomatic firearm and magazine as defined in F.S. 775.087(3) or a machine gun as defined in F.S. 790.001 carries a minimum term of imprisonment of 8 years.
Battery on a law enforcement officer can be committed either by actually or intentionally touching or striking the officer against the officer’s will, or by intentionally causing bodily harm to the officer. See Vega v. State, 900 So.2d 572 (2nd DCA 2004), rehearing denied. Other elements of the crime include: the victim is a law enforcement officer; you knew that the victim was a law enforcement officer; and the law enforcement officer was engaged in lawful performance of his or her duties when the battery was committed. See State v. Granner, 661 So.2d 89 (5th DCA 1995).
Simple battery is a lesser-included offense of battery on a law enforcement officer and a jury must be instructed it so as not to deprive a jury of its pardon power, which may carry lower penalties. See King v. State, 911 So.2d 857 (1st DCA 2005). If the police used excessive force in trying to make an arrest, you are entitled instruction on self-defense with respect to the charges if the evidence shows excessive force. See Casey v. State, 651 So.2d 1230 (2nd DCA 1995). If evidence shows that you were intoxicated at the time, you are entitled to a jury instruction on voluntary intoxication as a defense. See Parker v. State, 471 So.2d 1352 (2nd DCA 1985).
Whenever it involves law enforcement, the State will aggressively prosecute you and you need an experienced Jacksonville criminal lawyer for your defense. Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC for legal advice and the solid representation you need.