PASCO COUNTY, FL (November 2, 2019) writes that a 21-year-old man from Hudson is facing charges after police investigated a suspicious death involving a victim found in a burning vehicle late last week. Police charged the man with weapons-related offenses.

Last Friday, police were called to investigate a burned vehicle containing a body. Construction workers found the victim in the woods close to Key Vista Nature Park off of Baillies Bluff Road. The authorities are not yet releasing additional information about the victim found in the burnt vehicle or the circumstances of that death.

Police have not stated that the man they arrested is a suspect in the death of the person found in the woods, but they did indicate that it was in the course of their investigation into that death that they came in contact with the 21-year-old. When police found the suspect, he was at his mother’s house and had possession of a stolen vehicle and a stolen 9 mm gun inside of that vehicle. Police attempted to arrest the man, and he tried to fight off officers and flee the scene after being handcuffed. Police charged the suspect with theft of a vehicle and a firearm, delinquent possession of a firearm, resisting arrest, escape, and battery on a law enforcement officer.

Police indicated that no officers were injured during the arrest.

Florida Aggravated Battery Laws

Suspects arrested in Florida can add significant penalties and years to their sentence if they commit the crime of Battery on a Police Officer. Even in cases where the suspect may not be guilty of the crime they are accused of, they can be charged with a third-degree felony for unlawful touching of law enforcement personnel. Battery on a Police Officer is a crime that involves a defendant who intentionally strikes or touches an officer against that officer’s will or causes harm. In order to be convicted, the defendant must have known the individual was a police officer, and the officer must have been lawfully carrying out their duties as an officer of the law at the time of the battery.

The law applies not only to ordinary police officers but is applied broadly to include correctional officers, part-time police, individuals working for the Department of Corrections, Federal officers, and many other law enforcement personnel, as well as emergency responders such as firefighters and emergency medical providers.

Individuals convicted of Battery on a Police Officer can face a maximum prison sentence of five years, five years of probation, and a fine of $5,000. If the conduct is considered enough to upgrade the crime to Aggravated Battery, the person can face a 30-year prison sentence.

There are a number of possible defenses to this crime, including that the touching was incidental, not intentional, self-defense, the officer was using excessive force, reflexive actions made in response to pain, lack of knowledge that the victim was an officer, and that the officer was not engaged in lawful duty at the time of the alleged battery.