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Florida is one of many states that provides enhanced penalties for assault and battery allegations against law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical providers (EMTs and EMS) and mass transit employees. These laws were designed to provide an extra layer of protection for government employees who as part of their work duties frequently come into contact with citizens who can be stressed out or upset. Unfortunately, the enhanced criminal laws are often used to conceal misconduct by law enforcement, or as a bargaining chip that the state uses to induce guilty pleas. If you have been charged or are being investigated for this enhanced offense contact a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who specializes in defending charges of battery on a law enforcement officer. Benjamin has successfully defended numerous clients in all Tri-County and Treasure Coast jurisdictions, and has won trials and achieved dismissals in Miami, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. He is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, and has years of experience practicing in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm. Benjamin is available to offer a free consultation anytime at (954) 543-0305, and offers flexible payment plans and jail visits.
The basic provision of the Florida battery on a law enforcement officer (batt. leo) is that it raises each assault and battery statute by one level. A person who is accused of assaulting an officer will face a first-degree misdemeanor instead of second-degree, and this raises the maximum penalty from 60 days to 1 year. Defendants accused of simple battery on a law enforcement officer will face a third-degree felony with a 5-year maximum penalty. Aggravated assault goes from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison when the alleged victim is a LEO. There is also a 3-year minimum mandatory sentence for anyone convicted of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and carries a 5-year mandatory sentence. These mandatory sentences are day for day, which makes hiring an experienced South Florida assault and battery lawyer all the more important. Benjamin has the knowledge and skill to argue for dismissals or reduced charges, and is never afraid to take the case before a jury if there is no reasonable resolution.
Law enforcement officer does not simply mean police officers under Florida criminal law 784.07. It includes probation agents, corrections officers, DUI breath technicians, fish and wildlife officers, park rangers, traffic enforcement, licensed security officers and even parking attendants. All of these officers are afforded the protection of the batt. leo. law even if they are nonsworn and do not work directly for the government. The law does require an element of knowledge, so the law enforcement officer must be in uniform or performing his or her official duties. This is often an affirmative defense, as many defendants have been charged with assault or battery against off duty police officers. Public transit employees including bus drivers, railroad operators and all other employees of these transportation agencies are also protected under state law. It can be assumed that almost any public employee working in a transportation, security or law enforcement capacity can be included in this statute, but for specific questions call South Florida battery lawyer Benjamin Herbst anytime at (954) 543-0305. Benjamin takes availability very seriously and provides all clients with his cell phone number to talk and text on weekends and off hours. Do not gamble with your freedom by walking into a Florida courtroom without an expert criminal defense lawyer.