If you just got out of jail after being arrested in Fort Walton Beach for Battery on Law Enforcement, you already know that you’re in a lot of trouble. You are probably scared about whether you are going back to jail or whether you’re going to be stuck with a felony on your record.
If you hit a police officer in Fort Walton Beach, you will likely be charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer. This charge is a third degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $5000.00 fine.
Also, judges are not allowed to withhold adjudication, suspend your sentence, or refer the case to a diversion program. This means that if you are convicted, it will be a permanent felony conviction on your record that can never be expunged or sealed.
The Fort Walton Beach battery on law enforcement defense lawyers with Flaherty & Merrifield understand how difficult this accusation is for you. We are here to help you, not judge you. Call (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.
Battery On Law Enforcement under Florida Law
According to Florida Statute 784.07, a person is guilty of Battery on Law Enforcement if it is proven that the person hit or touched 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.
The prosecutors in Fort Walton Beach are tough on these cases. They need the support of the law enforcement community to be able to prosecute their cases, so an effective negotiation strategy along with a plan to defend the case is critical.
Defending You Every Step of the Way
Now is definitely not the time to just roll over and plead guilty. It is the time to dig in and fight for the best result possible. How will we do that?
If you have been charged with Battery on Law Enforcement in Fort Walton Beach, the first thing we will advise you to do is to come see us with a copy of your arrest report. If you haven’t had your first court date yet, there is a chance we can get with the prosecutor before he or she files formal charges against you, which normally happens on or right before your arraignment.
One issue we will be looking at is whether the State will be able to prove that you knew that the victim was a police officer or public safety official. Here are just a few questions we will ask:
- Was the person in uniform?
- In a marked patrol car?
- Did the person clearly identify himself as a police officer?
- Did the person show a badge or any other identifying information to demonstrate he was a police officer?
If we can raise doubt about whether you knew the person was a police officer, your chances of winning the case go way up.
We will also set a deposition of the officer who is claiming to be the victim. We will interrogate the officer with the prosecutor present in the room. We will question the officer about what happened, what they did, what they were wearing, etc.
We will also push to see whether the officer would agree to allow my client to accept a lesser charge, usually a misdemeanor. Most of the time, if the police officer will agree, so will the prosecutor. It doesn’t mean that you will have to accept the reduced charge, but it does give you options.
Your Fort Walton Beach Battery on Law Enforcement Attorney
Felony cases such as Battery on Law Enforcement are serious and they require skill and experience. At this stage, no one knows what the eventual outcome is going to be. Don’t trust any attorney who makes empty promises or guarantees. Attorneys like that care more about taking your money than they do about doing what is right for their clients.
You deserve an attorney who will be honest with you and who will always act in your best interest. Flaherty & Merrifield has been defending clients right here in Fort Walton Beach since 2001. We have the experience and creativity to execute defense strategies that get results for our clients.
If you have been charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer in Fort Walton Beach and you want to see what a team like Flaherty & Merrifield can do for you, give us a call at (850) 243-6097.
Click here for more information on assault and battery cases.