Destin Attorney for Battery On Law Enforcement
Battery on Law Enforcement charges come up quite often in Destin. The most common scenario I see is where someone was at a bar or club, the police got called, and the suspect pushed, shoved, or hit the police officer that was trying to get them to leave.
If something similar to this has happened to you, you’re probably worried about having a felony on your record. You might be scared about facing jail time.
My name is Tim Flaherty. Criminal Defense has been my only area of practice since I started in 2001. My team and I at Flaherty Defense Firm have successfully defended clients accused of Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer and we are ready to put that experience to work on your behalf. If you have any questions, call (850) 243-6097 for a free case review.
What does the State have to prove to convict me of Battery on Law Enforcement in Destin?
Pursuant to Florida Statute 784.07, the following are the elements the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant struck or hit the victim against their will;
- The victim was a law enforcement officer, EMT, Firefight, or other protected public safety official;
- The defendant knew or should have known that the victim was such an official; and
- When the battery was committed, the victim was working in their official capacity.
What is the penalty for Battery on Law Enforcement in Destin?
Under Florida law, Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer is a 3rd degree. The maximum sentence is 5 years in prison.
To make matters even more complicated is the fact that with Battery on Law Enforcement, the judge is not allowed to give you a suspended sentence or withhold adjudication. The State Attorney is not allowed to send your case to pretrial diversion. If you are found guilty, or you plead guilty as charged, you will be a convicted felon for the rest of your life.
How do the prosecutors view Battery on Law Enforcement cases?
Prosecutors and police officers work very closely with one goal: convicting people who have been accused of crimes. They need each other. They share common goals. Therefore, in most cases, a prosecutor is going to take the officer’s side of a dispute. Prosecutors also have a built-in interest in being “tough” on Battery on Law Enforcement cases so that they retain the support of the law enforcement community.
Having said that, there ARE ways to defend Battery on Law Enforcement cases in Destin. It usually requires a combination of negotiation and strategy.
That’s what the team at Flaherty Defense Firm excels at.
Defense Strategies in Battery on Law Enforcement Cases in Destin
The first step is to realize you’re in for a fight. Now is the time to dig in and prepare for that fight.
When someone calls me after an arrest for Battery on Law Enforcement in Destin, I will ask that person to come meet with me. I will also ask them to bring the arrest report so that I can find out immediately who the arresting officer was. We’ve been practicing in Destin and Okaloosa County since 2001, so chances are, we’ve had dealings with the officer before.
Here are a few other issues I will want to look at as I start to build a defense strategy that is customized to your case:
- Can the State prove that it was obvious that the victim was a police officer or public safety official? This comes up in situations where the officer was in plain clothes or working undercover.
- Did the victim have his police uniform on?
- Was the officer in his own personal vehicle or was he in a clearly marked police vehicle?
- Did the officer make it clear that he was a police officer or public safety official? Did the officer show his badge? Did he verbally say that he was a police officer? The State doesn’t just get to assume this. They have to prove it.
- Can the State prove that the officer was working in his official capacity? This might come up if you got into an altercation with an officer who was off-duty.
These questions come up a lot in Destin Battery on Law Enforcement cases because of the number of bars and clubs where people end up interacting with alcohol and the police.
I will examine the State’s case to see if I can use the questions above to raise reasonable doubt. If so, the State gets a lot more willing to negotiate or dismiss the case. It also positions us for a jury trial if that is what you decide.
Can these cases be “pled down” to a charge that allows a withhold adjudication or pretrial diversion?
In some cases, yes. One strategy we have used to great effect is to set a deposition of the arresting officer. At the depositions, I will question the officer, under oath, about all of the details of the case. The prosecutor will be in the room, so he or she gets to see how well the officer holds up under questioning.
The other purpose of the deposition is that I will ask the officer what they would like to see happen with the case. I will usually push them into agreeing to a lesser misdemeanor charge or a referral to pretrial diversion. More often than not, the officer will agree, or at least not take a strong stance either way.
If we can get the officer on board, it makes it a LOT easier to persuade the prosecutor to agree to a lesser charge or pretrial diversion.
Once we have a favorable option on the table, we can talk about accepting that option versus going to trial. It will be YOUR decision whether to accept a plea or go to trial. I will help you make an informed decision.
Felony court is where you find out whether an attorney knows what they are doing or not. It is very important that the right steps are taken in a methodical way to move your case toward a positive outcome. Knowing what moves to make, and more importantly, what moves NOT to make, is what can make all the difference in whether you walk away from this with a clean record, or a felony conviction.
If you have been charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer in Destin, call Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097 for a free case review.