Principle One of the Law Enforcement Officer Ethical Standards of Conduct of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) states, “Police officers shall conduct themselves, whether on or off duty, in accordance with the Constitution of the United States, the Florida Constitution, and all applicable laws, ordinances and rules enacted or established pursuant to legal authority.” Rule 1.1 establishes that police officers—whether on or off duty—shall not knowingly commit any criminal offense under any laws of the United States or any state of local jurisdiction.

If a certified law enforcement officer in Florida is arrested for any kind of criminal offense, it not only results in criminal charges but also a possible misconduct investigation that can lead to disciplinary action. If a police officer is convicted of certain crimes, it can result in his or her certification being revoked.

Lawyer for Law Enforcement Officers in Gainesville, FL

Are you a police officer who was recently arrested anywhere in north central Florida for an alleged criminal offense? You will want to contact Galigani Law Firm as soon as possible for help protecting your rights and achieving the most favorable possible outcome to your case.

Dean Galigani is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Gainesville who defends licensed professionals accused of various crimes in Columbia County, Alachua County, Baker County, Bradford County, and many other surrounding areas of Gainesville.

Call (352) 375-0812 right now to have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.

Overview of Law Enforcement Officer Arrests in Alachua County

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Disciplinary Process for Law Enforcement in Gainesville

Florida Statute § 943.13 contains two very important subsections applicable to law enforcement officers’ minimum qualifications for employment or appointment. Under Florida Statute § 943.13(7), any person employed or appointed as a full-time, part-time, or auxiliary law enforcement officer or correctional officer must have a good moral character as determined by a background investigation under procedures established by the commission.
Florida Statute § 943.13(4) established that such officers also must not have been convicted of any felony or of a misdemeanor involving perjury or a false statement, or have received a dishonorable discharge from any of the Armed Forces of the United States.

The Professional Compliance Section of the FDLE can initiate an officer misconduct case when:

  • Requested by the Governor;
  • As a result of an Affidavit of Separation form CJSTC-61, that reflects the following unfavorable misconduct “reason of separation”: Voluntary Separation or Retirement while being investigated for violation of Florida Statute § 943.13(4), a violation of Moral Character standards defined by Florida Administrative Code Rule 11B-27.0011, or terminated for violation of Florida Statute § 943.13(4);
  • As a result of an Internal Investigation Report form CJSTC-78, when the investigation report indicates violations of Florida Statute § 943.13(4) or Florida Statute § 943.13(7), which have been sustained, and the officer is not separated from employment;
  • Receipt of a signed verifiable complaint that contains specific allegations of non-compliance by an officer, pursuant to Section 943.13(4) or (7), F.S., to include the complainant’s name and return address;
  • Receipt of newspaper articles indicating an arrest or violation of moral character by an officer; or
  • When a Field Specialist determines ineligibility due to a non-favorable inspection of documents discovered during an audit or review of files; or
  • Information developed by the Professional Compliance Section indicating that an officer has been arrested or is in violation of Commission-ordered probation.

The Professional Compliance Section can request additional information that includes, but is not limited to report summaries, criminal investigations, depositions or statements, certified judgments and sentencing documents, and arrest reports.

Under Florida Statute § 943.12, the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission not only has the power to certify criminal justice officers, but also the authority to discipline an officer’s certification if the officer fails to maintain the standards of certification.

The Commission can discipline an officer’s certification if the officer:

  • pleads nolo contendere, pleads guilty, or is convicted of a felony;
  • pleads nolo contendere, pleads guilty, or is convicted of a misdemeanor involving perjury or false statement; or
  • fails to maintain good moral charter as defined by Florida Statute and Florida Administrative Code.

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Consequences of Convictions for Law Enforcement Officers in Alachua County

If an officer is found in violation of Florida Statute § 943.13(4), the Commission will revoke the officer’s certification. If the officer is found in violation of Florida Statute § 943.13(7), the Commission can impose one or more of the following penalties:

  • Revocation of certification;
  • Suspension of certification not to exceed two years;
  • Placement on probationary status not to exceed two (2) years, subject to terms and conditions imposed by the Commission. Upon violation of such terms or conditions, the Commission may revoke certification or impose additional penalties as listed here;
  • Successful completion of any Commission-approved Basic Recruit Training Program, Advanced or Career Development Training, or retraining deemed appropriate by the Commission; or
  • Issue a reprimand.

Penalty guidelines for specific moral character violations are established in Florida Administrative Code Rule 11B-27.005(5). You can view the penalties for specific violations on the FDLE website, but the Commission has the power to change penalties when evidence is presented showing the presence of one or more of certain specific aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

Aggravating circumstances include:

  • Whether the officer used his/her official authority to facilitate the misconduct;
  • Whether the misconduct was committed while the officer was performing his/her other duties;
  • The number of violations found by the Commission;
  • The number and severity of prior disciplinary actions taken against the officer by the Commission within the preceding eight years or received a Letter of Guidance within the preceding five years;
  • The severity of the misconduct;
  • The danger to the public;
  • The actual damage, physical or otherwise, caused by the misconduct;
  • The lack of deterrent affect of the penalty imposed by the employing agency;
  • The pecuniary benefit or self-gain to the officer realized by the misconduct;
  • Whether the misconduct was motivated by unlawful discrimination;
  • Any behavior constituting domestic violence as defined by Section 741.28(1), F.S.; and
  • Whether the officer has previously received a Letter of Acknowledgment within the preceding three years.

Mitigating circumstances include:

  • The officer’s employment status in a position requiring Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission certification at the time of the final hearing before the Commission;
  • The recommendations of character or employment references;
  • The lack of severity of the misconduct;
  • The length of time the officer has been certified;
  • Any effort of rehabilitation by the officer;
  • The effect of disciplinary or remedial action taken by the employing agency and /or recommendations of employing agency administrator;
  • The recommendation of a Probable Cause Panel to impose a penalty below the penalty guideline; and
  • Effort of the officer to retract a false statement prior to the close of the disciplinary or criminal investigation.

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Law Enforcement Officer Arrest Resources in Florida

FDLE | Professional Compliance — The Professional Compliance Section of the FDLE is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by officers, training school instructors, and Commission-certified criminal justice training schools for possible disciplinary or denial of certification action by the Commission, and ensures that due-process is observed throughout Commission proceedings. On this section of the FDLE website, you can learn more about case processing, the professional compliance (disciplinary) process, and penalty guidelines. You can also view quarterly discipline statistics and read answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Florida Statute § 112.532 | Law enforcement officers’ and correctional officers’ rights — View the full text of the state law governing the rights and privileges of all law enforcement officers and correctional officers employed by or appointed to a law enforcement agency or a correctional agency. Find information relating to the rights of law enforcement officers and correctional officers while under investigation, complaint review boards, and civil suits brought by law enforcement officers or correctional officers. You can also read more about notice of disciplinary action, retaliation for exercising rights, and limitations period for disciplinary actions.

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Galigani Law Firm | Gainesville Law Enforcement Defense Attorney

If you are a police officer in north central Florida who was recently arrested for any kind of alleged crime, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Galigani Law Firm represents individuals throughout the greater Gainesville area, including communities in Union County, Columbia County, Baker County, and Bradford County.

You can have our attorneys provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (352) 375-0812 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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