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Assault / Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO)

Assault and battery are serious criminal offenses, but these crimes carry enhanced penalties when the alleged victim is a public official who is a member of certain protected classes. Florida Statute § 784.07 establishes specific crimes for assault or battery of any of the following:

  • Law enforcement officer (LEO);
  • Firefighter;
  • Emergency medical care provider;
  • Railroad special officer;
  • Traffic accident investigation officer;
  • Nonsworn law enforcement agency employee who is certified as an agency inspector;
  • Blood alcohol analyst;
  • Breath test operator while such employee is in uniform and engaged in processing, testing, evaluating, analyzing, or transporting a person who is detained or under arrest for driving under the influence (DUI);
  • Law enforcement explorer
  • Traffic infraction enforcement officer;
  • Parking enforcement specialist;
  • Person licensed as a security officer and wearing a uniform that bears at least one patch or emblem that is visible at all times that clearly identifies the employing agency and that clearly identifies the person as a licensed security officer; or
  • Security officer employed by the board of trustees of a community college.

When a person is charged with assault or battery on one of these protected classes, prosecutors will typically seek maximum punishments. Police officers may exaggerate an alleged offender’s conduct in order to avoid possible claims of misconduct or excessive force.

Attorney for Assault / Battery on an LEO in St. Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers Melinda Morris and Seth Shapiro of the Morris Law Firm, P.A. aggressively defends clients in Dunedin, Pinellas Park, Largo, Clearwater, and the communities in Pinellas County. Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free, confidential consultation that will let our attorney review your case and help you understand all of your legal options.


Overview of Assault / Battery on an LEO Crimes in Florida


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Assault on an LEO Penalties in Pinellas County

The second-degree misdemeanor offense of assault becomes a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 if:

  • The alleged offender intentionally and unlawfully threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to a member of any of the aforementioned protected classes;
  • At the time, the alleged offender appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat;
  • The act of the alleged offender created in the mind of the alleged victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place;
  • The alleged victim was at the time an LEO or other protected profession;
  • The alleged offender knew the alleged victim was an LEO or other protected profession; and
  • At the time of the assault, the alleged victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties.

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Battery on an LEO Penalties in St. Petersburg

The first-degree misdemeanor offense of battery becomes a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000 if:

  • The alleged offender intentionally touched or struck the alleged victim against his or her will or caused bodily harm to the alleged victim;
  • The alleged victim was at the time an LEO or other protected profession;
  • The alleged offender knew the alleged victim was an LEO or other protected profession; and
  • The alleged victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties when the battery was committed.

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Aggravated Assault on an LEO Penalties in Florida

The third-degree felony offense of battery becomes a second-degree felony punishable by a minimum of three years up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if:

  • The alleged offender intentionally and unlawfully threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to a member of any of the aforementioned protected classes;
  • At the time, the alleged offender appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat;
  • The act of the alleged offender created in the mind of the alleged victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place;
  • The alleged assault was made with a deadly weapon or with a fully-formed, conscious intent to commit a felony offense upon the alleged victim;
  • The alleged victim was at the time an LEO or other protected profession;
  • The alleged offender knew the alleged victim was an LEO or other protected profession; and
  • At the time of the assault, the alleged victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties.

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Aggravated Battery on an LEO Penalties in Pinellas County

The second-degree felony offense of battery becomes a first-degree felony punishable by a minimum of five years up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if:

  • The alleged offender intentionally touched or struck the alleged victim against his or her will or caused bodily harm to the alleged victim;
  • The alleged offender, in committing the alleged battery, used a deadly weapon or intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the alleged victim;
  • The alleged victim was at the time an LEO or other protected profession;
  • The alleged offender knew the alleged victim was an LEO or other protected profession; and
  • The alleged victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties when the battery was committed.

If an alleged offender possessed a semiautomatic firearm and its high-capacity detachable box magazine during the commission of an alleged offender, a conviction is punishable by a minimum term of imprisonment of eight years.


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Florida Assault / Battery on an LEO Resources

J.A.S.R. v. State, 967 So.2d 1050 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007)The appellant in this case was found guilty of battery of a law enforcement officer but contended in his appeal that “the evidence was insufficient to support a finding that the officer/victim was engaged in the performance of a lawful duty at the time of the alleged battery.” The police officer in this case was working in an off-duty status at an amusement park and was attempting to escort the appellant’s brother from the park when the appellant “battered” the officer by grabbing his arm and demanding he release his brother. The Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled that while the officer was wearing his police uniform, he was not engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties and the case did not involve a situation in which an individual refused to comply with a police officer's lawful directive. The Court vacated the finding of guilt for battery of a law enforcement officer, although it noted that the evidence was sufficient to support a finding of guilt as to the lesser-included offense of battery.

Chapter 8 | Florida Standard Jury Instructions — Visit this section of the Florida Supreme Court website to view the full text of the standard jury instructions for assault, battery, aggravated assault, and aggravated battery on an LEO offenses. You can find more information about key definitions and lesser included offenses. While jury instructions are rarely used verbatim, these instructions are still a helpful overview of what juries will be asked to consider.


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Morris Law Firm, P.A. | St. Petersburg Assault / Battery on an LEO Defense Lawyer

If you were arrested for alleged battery or assault on a police officer or other protected class, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents individuals in Manatee County, Pasco County, Sarasota County, Hillsborough County, and Pinellas County.

Melinda Morris is a criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg who understands the most effective ways to identify weaknesses in these types of cases because of her experience as a former Assistant State Attorney with the Sixth Judicial Circuit. You can have the attorneys at the Morris Law Firm provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (727) 388-4736 or submit an online contact form to receive a free initial consultation.


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