West Palm Beach police recently arrested a Lake Worth man and charged him with assaulting an officer during a nightclub brawl, The Palm Beach Post is reporting.
Charges of battery on a law enforcement officer in West Palm Beach are more serious than regular battery simply because of the victim. When an everyday citizen is injured in an attack, the charges are less serious for the defendant.
Lawmakers have attempted to protect law enforcement officers by increasing penalties against people who would consider an attack. West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers understand the motivation behind this move, but it still places law enforcement officers above the citizens they serve. All victims should have the same value in the eyes of the law. But they don’t.
Another issue in cases like these is finding unbiased jurors. When a police officer is introduced as the victim in a case, jurors may not be able to properly do their jobs. While prospective jurors who are related to officers or who have friends who are officers can easily get weeded out of a jury, other people may be more difficult to screen.
Some people just have grown up believing that officers should have more credibility as witnesses, that their words are more powerful and trustworthy. Some citizens believe that law enforcement officers should get extra rights or more protection than other people. And while those are fine beliefs to have, that may not make them good jurors — especially when the alleged victim is a cop.
In this case, according to the news report, the 23-year-old is now facing charges of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and aggravated battery. He is accused of beating an officer who was trying to break up a fight at a night club. He allegedly punched the officer with a “tool” from his key chain.
When officers arrived, they allegedly found the man and his fiancee fighting. The suspect struggled with officers and allegedly punched one in the face. Two officers and a bouncer got the man out of the club. Outside, an officer tried to fire a Taser at the man, but missed. Officers then chased him into an alley and arrested him.
Florida Statutes 784.07 defines aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. It spells out who can be considered a victim under the law and lays out the possible penalties. A person who is convicted faces at least three years in prison. If a weapon is used, penalties could be tougher.
Aggravated battery is knowingly causing great bodily harm, disability or disfigurement to a person. If a person is battered with a weapon, that also qualifies under this law. A person charged with this crime can face a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years behind bars.
These are serious charges that are enhanced by the identity of the victim in this case. It is important to be properly represented if you are facing a criminal charge. The more serious the charge, the more important. Every defendant should have their day in court.
If you are arrested in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Leifert & Leifert at 954-523-9600 or 561-988-8000 for a free consultation.
More Blog Entries:
Woman Charged With Inciting a Riot at Pompano Beach Bowling Alley: February 17, 2012
Lake Worth man arrested in nightclub brawl that injured police officer, by Cynthia Roldan, The Palm Beach Post