When confronted with charges related to the assault of a federal officer, securing the services of a skilled and experienced defense attorney becomes paramount, as it can determine the outcome of your case.
ⓘ In this article, we'll discuss the following topics:
- Understanding 18 U.S. Code § 111: Assault on a Federal Officer
- Identifying a Federal Officer Under 18 U.S.C. 111
- Arizona Laws vs. Federal Laws in Assault Cases
- Penalties Under 18 U.S. Code § 111
- The Role of Intent in Federal Assault Charges
- How Federal Jurisdiction Affects Your Case
- Defenses to Charges of Assault on a Federal Officer
- 13 Case Stages of Being Charged with Assault on a Police Officer
- Your Rights Under Federal Law When Accused
- The Importance of Experienced Legal Representation in Federal Cases
Having federal crimes attorney Josh Kolsrud by your side, you’ll get a better understanding of the charges against you, develop a robust winning defense strategy, combat the prosecution, and safeguard your rights throughout the courtroom proceedings.
Josh Kolsrud brings years of hands-on experience, having successfully handled over 3,500 cases and over 100 jury trials that reached a favorable verdict. Alongside his dedicated team, he is determined and confident in defending your rights and advocating for your interests at every stage of the legal process.
With an intricate comprehension of federal laws, we can offer expert guidance to construct a formidable defense, ensuring the pursuit of the most favorable outcome attainable for your case.
Take the first step towards safeguarding your future by contacting us today to schedule a free consultation.
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18 U.S. Code § 111 - Assault on a Federal Peace Officer
The law takes any violence against a peace officer seriously, especially involving federal officers. This is evident in 18 U.S. Code § 111, a federal statute dealing with assaults on federal officers. This legislation, enacted to protect those serving in federal law enforcement, carries severe penalties and is rigorously enforced.
- Simple Assault: If a person forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with a federal officer engaged in the performance of official duties, they can be charged with a federal crime.
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon or Inflicting Bodily Injury: If the above actions are committed with a deadly or dangerous weapon, or if the assault results in bodily injury, the penalties are more severe.
▶ Example Scenarios of Felony Assault on a Federal Employee
- Assaulting a Postal Worker: A postal worker is delivering mail in a neighborhood when an angry resident confronts the worker over a missing package. The confrontation escalates, and the resident physically shoves the postal worker, causing minor injuries. This action could be charged under the statute, as postal workers are considered federal employees.
- Resisting Arrest by an FBI Agent: An FBI agent is attempting to arrest a suspect involved in a federal crime. The suspect violently resists, striking the agent in the face, causing a bloody nose. This resistance and assault on the agent can lead to additional charges under 18 U.S. Code § 111.
- Attacking a Park Ranger with a Weapon: A park ranger approaches a group of campers who are breaking park rules. One camper becomes aggressive and threatens the ranger with a knife. Even if no physical injury occurs, threatening a federal employee like a park ranger with a deadly weapon can result in charges.
- Impeding a TSA Officer: At an airport security checkpoint, a traveler becomes enraged when asked to undergo additional screening. The traveler spits at the TSA officer and tries to push past them, interfering with the officer's ability to perform their duties. This behavior could be seen as impeding a federal officer, leading to possible charges under the statute.
18 U.S. Code § 111 is explicitly designed to prosecute assault on federal officers. It covers a wide range of behaviors, not just physical violence.
Any forceful actions, threats, or intimidating behavior towards a federal officer engaged in their official duties or because of their performance of such duties falls under this law.
It's worth noting that the definition also includes attempts to interfere with the officer while resisting arrest or impeding official duties.
Identifying a Federal Officer Under 18 U.S.C. 111
The statute of 18 U.S.C. 111 outlines that committing an assault against any person serving as a federal officer, representative, or employee of a U.S. government organization or anyone enlisted in the uniformed services is considered a federal crime.
▶ What is a Federal Officer?
The terms federal officer, federal employee, or peace officer encompasses individuals actively employed by the federal government or state government; it can even extend to those who have left their roles if the act of assault is carried out in retaliation. For example, an elected official who has completed their term.
Federal representatives might take many forms, including, but not restricted to:
- Representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
- Agents from Border Patrol,
- Marshals serving the United States,
- Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,
- Employees of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
- Workers at the Internal Revenue Service,
- Individuals employed by the Postal Service,
- Judges serving or retired from the federal judiciary.
Arizona Laws vs. Federal Laws in Assault Cases
Regarding cases of assault on a federal officer, federal law primarily governs these situations. However, this doesn't mean Arizona law has no role.
Arizona Revised Statutes, ARS 13-1204, details the felony aggravated assault charges and penalties for assault on a police officer. Although federal laws will typically supersede state law in these cases, state charges can add to the seriousness of these accusations.
Penalties Under 18 U.S. Code § 111
The federal law defined by 18 U.S.C. 111 outlines three distinct categories of assault against a federal enforcement officer, each carrying its own charges and penalties.
▶ What are the Penalties for Assault on an Officer or Other Federal Employee?
Simple assault, involves an act of force, resistance, obstruction, intimidation, or interference directed towards federal officers while they are carrying out their duties or due to the performance of their duties. It's important to note that this charge can be levied even without physical contact or injury.
Simple assault on a federal officer is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and can lead to a prison sentence of up to one (1) year and fines reaching $100,000.
Serious Assault (Without a Deadly Weapon)
Serious Assault (Without a Deadly Weapon) shares characteristics with simple assault but includes two additional factors:
- There is actual physical contact with the officer, and
- This contact was made with the intent to commit another felony.
If convicted of severe assault without a weapon, the accused could face a felony charge, with penalties including up to eight (8) years in prison and fines as high as $250,000.
Serious Assault with a Deadly Weapon or Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury
This type of assault occurs when there is physical contact with the officer, involving a deadly weapon or causing serious physical harm to the officer.
Such serious assault is classified as a Class C felony, and the potential penalties are severe: up to 20 years in prison and fines amounting to $250,000.
The Role of Intent in Federal Assault Charges
Charges of assault on a federal officer require the prosecutor to prove the accused acted intentionally.
Intent means that the accused person knowingly committed an act that they understood could cause harm or prevent the officer from performing their duties.
This aspect of "intent" is crucial in these cases and is often a point of contention in the courtroom.
How Federal Jurisdiction Affects Your Case
When charged with assaulting a federal officer, your case will be handled in federal court, which operates differently from state court. Federal courts follow distinct procedures and sentencing guidelines, often imposing stricter conviction sentences.
Federal prosecutors also have extensive resources, underscoring the importance of securing experienced legal representation if facing such charges.
Defenses to Charges of Assault on a Federal Officer
Just because you're charged with assault on a federal officer doesn't mean you do not have ways to defend yourself against these charges. Common defenses may include the following:
- Lack of Intent: Proving the absence of a deliberate intention to assault the federal officer might negate the charges.
- Mistaken Identity: Establishing that the defendant was not the perpetrator can be a decisive defense.
- Self-Defense: If the defendant acted to protect themselves from an immediate threat, they might be justified.
- Defense of Others: Similar to self-defense, this defense can be applied if the defendant was protecting someone else from danger.
- Lack of Evidence: Failure of the prosecution to provide enough proof can lead to the dismissal of charges.
- Coercion or Duress: If the defendant was forced or threatened into acting, they might be exonerated.
- Insufficient Injury: Showing that the injuries don't meet the threshold for aggravated assault may reduce or eliminate the charges.
- Violation of Rights (including Miranda Rights): If the defendant's rights were violated, including not being read their Miranda rights, the evidence might be inadmissible.
- Mental Incapacity or Insanity: Demonstrating a mental condition that impaired understanding can lead to a not guilty verdict.
- Body Cam Footage: Using video evidence that contradicts the prosecution's claims can be a powerful defense.
- Failure to Identify as a Federal Officer: If the alleged victim did not properly identify themselves as a federal officer, this could undermine the charges.
- Excessive Use of Force: Showing that the officer used excessive force may justify the defendant's actions or reduce the severity of the charges.
- Intimidation and Threats from Officer: If the defendant acted under duress due to threats or intimidation from the officer, this could be a valid defense.
- Falsified Police Report: Proving that the report was intentionally falsified or contains significant errors can lead to dismissal or reduction of charges.
- Improper Conduct of the Officer: Demonstrating misconduct on the part of the officer during the arrest or investigation could weaken the prosecution's case.
During your free one-on-one consultation, we will gather evidence against you and evaluate your case from top to bottom and find ways to aggressively fight for you.
13 Case Stages of Being Charged with Assault on a Police Officer
When an individual is charged with assault on a police officer, the legal journey that unfolds involves a series of stages, each carrying its own significance and implications.
It's important to note that the specific steps and terminology may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the particular circumstances of the case.
Below is a list outlining the typical stages involved in a case where an individual is charged with assault on a police officer:
The individual is apprehended by law enforcement officers based on allegations of assaulting a police officer.
The arrested person is taken to a law enforcement facility, where their personal information is recorded, and their fingerprints and photographs are taken.
The individual makes their initial appearance before a judge, who informs them of the charges against them and their rights and sets conditions for release, such as bail.
If the accused is not released on their own recognizance, a bail hearing is conducted to determine the amount of bail or any conditions of release.
Preliminary Hearing/Grand Jury
In some jurisdictions, a preliminary hearing or grand jury review is held to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial. This step may vary depending on the jurisdiction.
The accused appears in court and pleads guilty or not guilty to the charges. If a plea of not guilty is entered, the case proceeds to the trial phase.
Both the prosecution and defense exchange information, evidence, and witness lists related to the case.
The defense may file various motions, such as motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the case, based on legal arguments challenging the validity of the charges or evidence.
Negotiations and Plea Bargaining
The defense attorney and the prosecution may negotiate to reach a plea agreement involving reduced charges or penalties.
If no plea agreement is reached, the case proceeds to trial. The prosecution presents its case, and the defense has the opportunity to present its defense and cross-examine witnesses.
The judge or jury deliberates and reaches a verdict of guilty or not guilty based on the evidence presented during the trial.
If the accused is found guilty, a separate hearing is held to determine the appropriate sentence, considering factors such as the severity of the assault, any aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and the defendant's criminal history.
If the accused is convicted, they may have the right to appeal the verdict or sentence based on legal errors or constitutional violations that occurred during the trial.
Your Rights Under Federal Law When Accused
Being accused doesn't mean you're without rights. Under federal law, you can remain silent under your Miranda Rights, speak to an attorney and have a speedy trial. You also have the right to confront your accusers and to avoid self-incrimination.
These constitutional rights form the foundation of our justice system and must be respected and upheld throughout the legal process.
The Importance of Experienced Legal Representation in Federal Cases
Facing charges of assaulting a federal officer is a serious matter, and the importance of having experienced legal representation cannot be overstated. The right attorney can distinguish between a favorable outcome and a severe sentence.
At Kolsrud Law Offices, our seasoned federal defense attorneys bring their vast knowledge and experience to fight tirelessly for your rights and future.
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Why Choose Josh Kolsrud
With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication
Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients
Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.
As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort