If you have just been through the humiliation of being arrested for Battery on a police officer in Crestview, you already know you are in a lot of trouble. After seeing a judge and bonding out of jail, it is normal to be worried about whether you’re going back to jail, or whether you will have a felony conviction on your permanent record.
My name is Tim Flaherty. I’ve been a batter on law enforcement defense attorney in Crestview and throughout Okaloosa County since 2001. Brandy Merrifield is my partner. Give us a call at (850) 398-8098 and let us help you.
Battery On Law Enforcement under Florida Law
The Crestview prosecutors and police officers have each other’s backs. The State Attorney’s Office especially looks out for police officers when they claim to be the victim of a battery. The State needs them on their side to prosecute cases, so they have an incentive to go extra hard on cases where someone hit a police officer. It takes a very precise, well-planned strategy to effectively defend these cases
Florida Statute 784.07 defines Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer as follows:
- The Defendant touched or struck the victim against their will,
- The victim was a law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMT, or other protected public safety official,
- The suspect 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.
Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5000.00 fine.
You should also be aware that there are fewer sentencing options available for Battery on law enforcement cases. Florida law prohibits the judge from being able to give you a suspended sentence, let you have pretrial diversion, or withhold adjudication.
That means that unless the case is reduced to a lesser charge, dismissed, or won at trial, you will have a felony conviction on your record that is permanent. It will not be eligible for a record seal or expungement.
How will you defend me if I am charged with hitting a police officer in Crestview?
The first step is to bring your arrest report with you to your meeting with us. One angle we will be looking for is whether the State can prove that you knew the person was a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or protected official. If the State can’t prove that, we can move to dismiss the case.
Here are some questions that we will press the State to answer:
- Was the person claiming to be an officer in uniform or was he/she in plain clothes?
- Were they in a marked patrol car with law enforcement insignia, lights, siren, etc?
- Did he/she identify themselves as a police officer?
- Did he/she display a badge or anything else to prove they were a police officer?
We will subpoena the officer to appear at a deposition and question them under oath. The prosecutor will also be there, and will be able to see how well their witness holds up under an aggressive line of questioning.
At that deposition, we will also try to get the officer to agree to a reduced charge, or a dismissal. Surprisingly, this approach has worked very well in the past. If we can get the officer to agree, most of the time, the prosecutor will too.
If they offer you a reduced charge, that doesn’t mean you have to take it, but at least it gives you another option to consider. It also helps you at trial if the officer has said on the record that they agree to a lesser sentence.
Call a Crestview Battery on Law Enforcement Attorney
These cases are serious. You need an attorney with experience defending felony cases. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee what the result will be in your case. If any attorney offers you a guarantee, don’t fall for it. That just means they’ll tell you anything you want to hear, just to get your money.
You are stressed out enough as it is. Your attorney should lessen your stress, not add to it. We will always give you honest, common-sense advice. We will always act in your best interest and work to get you the best possible result.
If you have been charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer in Crestview, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 398-8098 for a free and confidential consultation.
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