Causing serious injury to a police officer is a serious offense in Florida, and felony charges will almost certainly be invoked. Oftentimes, an officer is injured during the arrest process because the suspect resisted or fled, or was driving a vehicle and caused injury to the officer who was either on foot or in a pursuing vehicle. Other times, officers are injured or claim that defendants resisted arrest with violence when no such offense was committed.
Fleeing and Causing Injury With a Motor Vehicle
Recently, a Pembroke Pines, Florida police officer was dragged by a vehicle for half a mile by a fleeing suspect, as reported by The Epoch Times. The officer was responding to a call regarding to unconscious people inside a parked car. Drug use was expected, and the officer opened the door to attend to the two occupants. The driver put the car into gear and took off, with the officer hanging on so as not to be run over by the rear wheels, until he had an opportunity to tuck and roll away. The officer was seriously injured, and the suspects were eventually caught and taken into custody. Under statute 316.1935, fleeing law enforcement and causing injury to a police officer or any other person is a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. This statute also carries a minimum term of three years imprisonment. In a case such as this, and others during an arrest, defendants who unintentionally injure a police officer may have been fleeing for fear of their lives.
Resisting Arrest With Violence
Making an arrest is sometimes a dangerous procedure for all involved, particularly the suspect. Police violence and brutality is common, and is rarely reprimanded. However, police also get injured during arrests, either due to the defendant’s resistance or the officer’s own mistake, such as tripping and falling. Under statute 843.01, knowingly and willfully resisting, opposing, or obstructing a law enforcement officer is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. If serious injury is caused, additional charges will be pressed.
Defenses to Resisting Arrest With Violence
If you were arrested and charged with causing injury to a police officer, there are many options for defense that may apply to you, such as the following:
- During an arrest, the officer was not on duty;
- The defendant was not made aware that a plain closed officer was a law enforcement agent ;
- The officer applied handcuffs and extreme force, causing the defendant to jerk and resist unwillingly;
- The officer’s body camera was somehow turned off during part of the arrest, signaling foul play; and
- The officer was using unjustified force or violence, and the defendant feared for their life and safety.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to Protect Your Rights Today
If you have been arrested for causing injury to a law enforcement officer, you need an experienced West Palm Beach attorney who will find the best method of defense forward. Reach out to the criminal defense lawyers of the Skier Law Firm today for assistance.