It’s frustrating to be stopped by the police on suspicion of drunk driving, and even more upsetting to face arrest – especially when you think that the officer is being unfair, unreasonable or even acting illegally.
However, you need to control your temper and your actions. Regardless of the charges you may be facing, things can and will get worse if you utter any threats or behave in an aggressive manner toward a police officer, first responder or certain other people you may encounter in this situation.
Assault or battery on a member of a protected class is a serious crime
Assault is any threat that causes someone to fear physical harm to themselves, while battery is a harmful or offensive touching (whether it causes actual physical harm or not).
Assault and battery are already serious offenses. In Florida, however, certain people are considered members of a protected class. Among others, members of a protected class include:
- Law enforcement officers
- Security guards
- Public transit workers, including bus drivers
- First responders, including emergency medical technicians
- Traffic accident investigators
This means that if you let your frustrations take over when you’re suddenly asked to step out of your car and subjected to a blood alcohol test by an EMT or you’re told to have a seat on the curb while an officer waits on backup after you’ve been in an accident, any threats you make could end up leading to additional charges.
Typically, this means that whatever charges you might have faced for assault or battery will be “upgraded” to the next level. A simple verbal threat spoken in anger to an officer would go from a second-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor. If you shove the EMT who is asked by law enforcement to take your blood, you could see a first-degree misdemeanor battery charge elevated to third-degree felony.
If you’re facing arrest, remember: It’s better to fight your DUI charges in court than end up compounding your problems.