Can probation be offered on a battery on a LEO charge?

Asked over 3 years ago - Fort Lauderdale, FL

My fiance was arrested for 3 counts of battery on a LEO. state advised him that he scored out to 15 months in prison and offered him a year and a day. The situation is that he was punching holes in my walls then left our home and went to his friends house the officers went to where he was at and were let in the house which no lights were on just the tv in the living room and he was in the back room. the came in with their guns out but never identified themselves as officers they forcefully pulled him out the house and keep in mind he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. the officers proceeded to pull him downstairs and repeatedly beat him so he defended himself. In the outcome the three officers had bruises and so did my fiance. what would be his min. sentence that can be offered?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Eric J Trabin

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Yes, probation is available on a Battery on LEO charge. A factor to be considered is a person's criminal history. Battery on LEO is a 3rd degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison each. Generally if there is no criminal history and no weapons or injuries involved in the crime, a person would not score prison. But if a person does score prison, that score is the minimum sentence the judge can impose. So if a person scores 15 months in prison, that is the least the judge could sentence him to if he "pled to the bench." The state attorney has the ability to agree to a downward departure. That means the prosecutor can say even though a person scores prison, they can offer less incarceration (like the situation here) or even probation.

    But it sounds like your fiance may have some defenses. A defendant must know a LEO is in fact a LEO in order to be guilty of Battery on LEO. He definitely needs an attorney. There need to be depositions taken so the testimony of the officers will be known in advance of trial.

    The fact that your fiance was intoxicated is not a defense unless someone drugged him without his consent.

    Please feel free to email me if you would like to discuss his situation in more detail or if you have any questions.

  2. Philip Matthew Snyder

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . Typically, the critical inquiry at trial for Battery on a LEO is whether the police were engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty and not whether the defendant was acting in self-defense. In Florida, an individual can only resist an illegal arrest WITHOUT using force or violence. The Broward State Attorney’s Office routinely files Battery on a LEO in conjunction with Resisting Arrest with Violence, so in some regards your fiancé caught a break.

    Assuming your fiancé pled "open to the Court", the Court would be required to sentence him to the bottom of the guidelines (~15 months). The fact that his line prosecutor is offering a prison sentence below 15 months is a good sign. Typically, but not always, it means that the prosecutor has reviewed the case with his/her supervisor and received authorization to make a "below guidelines" plea offer. I would suggest retaining an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney to speak to the line prosecutor's supervisor about reducing the sentence further - especially if your fiancé has no prior criminal history.

    Just curious, how old is your finance? If he is under the age of 21 he may have other (non-prison) options available to him, such as a Y.O. sentence. Also, Broward County offers a post-adjudicatory drug program in lieu of a prison sentence. Unfortunately, I do not think Battery on a LEO qualifies due to the (violent) nature of the crime, but it is worth reviewing the guidelines.

    I would be happy to discuss this matter with you in more detail, upon request. Good luck,

  3. Ronald S. Pichlik

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . I agree with the prior answer. If his guidelines bottom out at 15 months that is the minimum that the judge is legally required to impose.

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