Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO)

Charges for “Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer” (often called “Battery LEO” or “Batt LEO” for short) occur after the arresting officer uses excessive force or otherwise engages in misconduct.

By trumping up the charges of committing a battery on a LEO, the officer might try to avoid a claim of misconduct or excessive force.

Prosecutors often look at these cases from a less than objective standpoint. The State of Florida will use all of its resources to prosecute the case. In some cases, the prosecutor wants to avoid a claim for civil damages against the law enforcement agency.

As a result, when it comes to battery on a law enforcement officer, the charges are rarely dropped. Instead, prosecutors will aggressively fight for a conviction.

Attorney for Batt Leo Charges in Tampa, FL

If you were arrested for Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer (BATT1010), then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL.

Our attorneys are experienced in fighting these complicated cases to protect our clients. You also need an attorney fighting to protect you against these serious charges.

Our main offices are located in downtown Tampa, FL. We also recently opened an office in New Port Richey across from the West Pasco Judicial Center.

Contact us to represent clients on serious felony charges in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, and Hernando County, FL.

Call (813) 250-0500.

Florida Statute Section 784.07

Under Florida Statute Section, the crime of Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) is a third-degree felony. The charge of Battery on a LEO is effectively a misdemeanor charge of battery reclassified to a felony due to the status of the victim being a law enforcement officer.

Florida Statute Section 784.07(2) provides:

“[w]henever any person is charged with knowingly committing an assault or battery upon a law enforcement officer … the offense for which the person is charged shall be reclassified as follows: …

(b) In the case of battery, from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree.”

Jury Instructions for Batt LEO Charges

Florida’s jury instruction for battery on a law enforcement officer is listed in section 8.11. The jury instruction was adopted in 1981 and amended in 1992 and 2008. The jury instruction generally tracks the statutory language contained in Florida Statute Section 784.07(2)(b).

The term “law enforcement officer” can also be interchanged with one of the following protected classes:

  • Emergency Medical Care Provider;
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officer;
  • Firefighter;
  • Parking Enforcement Specialist;
  • Security Officer Employed by the Board of Trustees of a Community College;
  • Traffic Accident Investigation Officer;
  • Traffic Infraction Enforcement Officer.

In the jury instruction, the court must state the class of officers to which the victim belongs, e.g., probation officer, a correctional officer.  The court may also instruct the jury that the named victim is a particular type of officer listed above.

To prove the crime of Battery on a [Law Enforcement Officer], the State must prove the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant intentionally touched or struck (the victim) against his or her will or caused bodily harm to the victim.
  2. The victim was a law enforcement officer (or working in another protected profession listed above).
  3. The defendant knew the victim was a law enforcement officer (or in another protected profession listed above).
  4. The victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties when the battery was committed.

Lesser included offenses of battery on a LEO might include “simple battery” or “assault on a law enforcement officer.”

The Florida legislature recently increased the criminal penalty for battery on a law enforcement officer when the crime is committed in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot. Under the new legislation, battery on a LEO committed in furtherance of a riot or an aggravated riot is re-ranked from a Level 4 to a Level 5 offense on the OSRC. Furthermore, a person convicted for the crime must be sentenced to a six month mandatory minimum sentence.

Finding a Battery LEO Defense Attorney

Contact a criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss any case of battery on a law enforcement officer in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, or the surrounding areas including Pasco County, Polk County, Pinellas County or Hernando County.

On the website for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the offense is described as BATTERY ON A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER (BATT1010). We fight to protect our clients charged with this type of violent crime.

Call 813-250-0500.

This article was last updated on Monday, July 12, 2021.