In state of Florida, is assault and battery on police officer (on duty or off duty) considered a felony? If not, what is it considered?

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In state of Florida, is assault and battery on police officer (on duty or off duty) considered a felony? If not, what is it considered?

Asked on May 3, 2009 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Under Florida law, "assault" and "battery" are two different offenses.  "Battery" is an unlawful touching of another person, or causing physical harm, while "assault" is more or less a believable threat to commit a battery.  Battery is a more serious charge, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, while assault is a second degree misdemeanor, maximum sentence of 60 days.

Assault on an on-duty police officer is upgraded to a first degree misdemeanor, battery becomes a third degree felony which can bring up to five years in jail.  This law does not use the term "on duty," it is about whether the officer is performing his official duties at the time.  An off-duty cop who is directing traffic at an accident scene would probably be performing his official duties, for the purpose.  It may also be that if the assault or battery is somehow related to the officer's official duties (for example, punching out the cop who wrote you a speeding ticket last week), even if he's otherwise "completely off duty" at the time, the stronger penalties might apply.

A Florida attorney can give you more detailed information about this.  If you need to find a lawyer, you can do that at http://attorneypages.com


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