Drunk Florida Prosecutor Charged With Assault After Confronting Police Officer


As a criminal defense lawyer located next to Penn State, I represent a lot of Penn State students and alumni that get into trouble for the first time. In many of the cases, alcohol is involved, which explains why the people did something that they normally would not do. I tell my clients that good people sometimes make bad decisions. Regretfully, there are times that the district attorneys do not understand that one incident does not actually reflect the true character of the person, and some prosecutors forget that they are not perfect.

Recently, a Florida prosecutor got kicked out of one bar and was refused entry  into another. While lingering in the area, the prosecutor was approached by a police officer and asked to leave the area. The prosecutor did not appreciate being told what to do by the officer and questioned the officer’s authority. The prosecutor rolled up his sleeves and took an aggressive stance, as if intending to strike the officer. At that point, the officer arrested the prosecutor and charged him with assault.

Pennsylvania Assault Charge?

Had this incident occurred in Pennsylvania, I do not believe that the prosecutor would be charged with assault. Pennsylvania law does not actually require that an injury be inflicted or even attempted in order to be charged with assault. Both the misdemeanor Simple Assault and felony Aggravated Assault laws allow a person to be charged if the person attempts by physical menace to put another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. The key issue is whether or not the person had a fear of imminent “serious bodily injury.” Pennsylvania law defines “serious bodily injury” as a “bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” I believe that it would be difficult to prove that the act of rolling up sleeves and taking a fighting stance is sufficient to put the officer in fear of death or serious, permanent disfigurement. Without such a fear, the man could not be charged with assault.

Collateral Consequences of Conviction

In many situations, if a person is convicted of a criminal offense, the person faces both the imposition of a criminal sentence and also collateral consequences. For example, in this situation, an assault conviction may cause the prosecutor to face a disciplinary action by the lawyer ethics board, could result in the loss of his employment, and definitely would result in a loss of  professional respect between the police and the prosecutor. Even if the prosecutor is not convicted, hopefully the sheer humiliation of the incident will prevent this incident from being repeated.

Penn State DUI lawyer Jason S. Dunkle routinely represents clients that are involved in the criminal justice system for the first time. These clients need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to obtain the best resolution possible in the criminal setting and hopefully avoid as many of the collateral consequences as possible. Contact an experienced attorney at JD Law for a free consultation at (814) 954-7622 or via email.