Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer

Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer

Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer

What must the prosecutor prove in an Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer case?
According to Florida Statute § 784.07, to prove the crime of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, the prosecutor must prove the following six things:

  1. The defendant intentionally threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to the victim;
  2. At the time the defendant appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat;
  3. The act of the defendant created in the mind of the victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place;
  4. The victim was at the time a Law Enforcement Officer;
  5. The Defendant knew that the victim was a Law Enforcement Officer;
  6. At the time of the Assault, the victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties.

What are the maximum penalties in an Assault on a law enforcement case?
In Florida, an Assault on a law enforcement officer is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of:

  1. One year of imprisonment
  2. A $1,000.00 fine
  3. 12 months of probation

Possible Defenses to an Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer Charge:

  1. Self Defense to an Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer Charge

Under Florida law a person can’t use force to resist an arrest by a law enforcement officer, or to resist a law enforcement officer who is engaged in the execution of a legal duty, if the law enforcement officer was acting in good faith and he or she is known or reasonably appears, to be a law enforcement officer.

However, if an officer uses excessive force to make an arrest, then a person is justified in the use of reasonable force to defend him or herself or another.

  1. No Fear of Imminent Harm

In the case of Sullivan v. State, 898 So.2d 105 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005), a defendant with a kitchen knife charged at two Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputies.   Before the knife-wielding defendant made the wise decision to stop and drop his knife, he charged within 15 feet of the first deputy.

However, the defendant came no closer than 30 feet to the second deputy and the second deputy had shielded himself behind a sheriff’s vehicle.  Also, between the second deputy and the defendant was the first deputy, who had a gun in his hand and was pointing it at the defendant.

Because in order to attack the second deputy the defendant would have had to cross 30 feet of open space, get by the first armed deputy and then get by the sheriff’s vehicle, the Court ruled that the second deputy was not the victim of an Aggravated Assault as it was unreasonable for him to have feared imminent harm.

  1. The Officer Was Not in the Execution of a Legal Duty

In the case of D.J.D. v. State, 143 So.2d 1115 (4th DCA 2014) juvenile was refusing to obey his mother’s instructions to get into her car.  A police officer ordered the juvenile to follow his mother’s instructions and get in the car, but the juvenile refused and pushed the officer away.  The State charged the juvenile with Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.

The Court ruled that forcing a juvenile to obey his mother is not part of a police officer’s duty.  Therefore, the juvenile could not be convicted of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.

Are you looking for the best Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer lawyer in Tampa Florida? Contact Attorney David C. Hardy.

Tampa Attorney David C. Hardy is a former prosecutor that now represents persons accused of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.  He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling all types of assault cases.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, Attorney David C. Hardy has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.