For those wondering if it’s a good idea to punch a cop, the answer is most definitely ‘no’. Not only will they likely respond with force, but they will also charge you with several crimes at the same time.
Below Deck reality star, Ross Inia learned this lesson in a fashion that many officers of the law refer to as “the hard way”. According to an arrest report, Inia was fighting with two other men when a cop stepped in to try to break it up. At this point, Inia managed to punch the cop in the “face and shoulder”. He will be charged with disorderly intoxication, battery on a law enforcement officer, and harming a public servant.
Inia and fellow co-star Joao Franco were posting pictures to their Instagram accounts prior to the fight. These pictures have since been removed. Franco added a video subsequent to Inia’s stating that Inia had been arrested and they were trying to track him down.
There is no word yet on whether Inia has entered pleas to these charges.
Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer
The crime of battery on a law enforcement officer can be found in Florida Statutes § 784.07. In order for an individual to be charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, three conditions must be met. Those are:
- The defendant intentionally touches or strikes an officer of the law;
- The defendant knows that the individual is a police officer; and
- The law enforcement officer was engaged in the enforcement of law.
In other words, the officer is struck by an individual who knows that they are a law enforcement officer.
Under the law, battery of a law enforcement officer is considered a third-degree felony. It is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and 5 years probation. In other words, Inia can be facing significant prison time for his drunken assault.
Defenses to Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer
There are two things that a prosecutor must prove in order to prove battery on a law enforcement officer. That is that the defendant knew that the individual was a law enforcement officer and that the law enforcement officer was engaged in their duties while they were struck. In other words, you cannot accidentally or incidentally injure a law enforcement officer.
Since Inia was engaged in a fight and the police officer attempted to intervene and break it up, Inia can claim that he acted reflexively or wasn’t sure that the individual he struck was a law enforcement officer. That is actually a valid defense.
It will be difficult for a prosecutor to prove what Inia knew or did not know given the chaos of the situation. He should be able to get these charges reduced. It will be especially beneficial to him to admit culpability and a loss of control while drinking. In a case like this, it may behoove Inia to seek counseling for a drinking problem.
If you’ve been charged with a crime in West Palm Beach, the Skier Law Firm P.A. can help. Give us a call or talk to us online to set up an appointment.