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What Counts as a “Weapon” in a Florida Aggravated Assault or Battery Case?

When it comes to violent crimes in Florida, the details matter. Take the criminal offense of assault, which is an “intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another.” Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. But if the assault is committed “[w]ith a deadly weapon without intent to kill,” then it is considered aggravated assault, a third-degree felony. No Exclusive List of “Deadly” Weapons The aggravated assault law–Section 784.021 of the Florida Statutes–does not actually specify what constitutes a “deadly weapon.” Florida’s model jury instructions for aggravated assault state that something is a deadly weapon “if it is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm.” Obviously a firearm of any kind would qualify, as would many knives. But there are other objects, many of which are not designed as weapons, that can be “used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm.” This can include anything from a wooden stick to a car. Even a beer bottle may be a deadly weapon. In a 2003 case, a Florida appeals court affirmed an aggravated assault conviction based on the defendant hitting his friend “in the head with a beer bottle which caused her to lose consciousness,” and produced a visible lump on her head. The defendant argued, unsuccessfully, that the bottle was not a deadly weapon because it was not broken. But the appeals court said the physical state of the bottle was not important. Rather, the jury needed to decide whether the instrument in question was “likely to cause great bodily harm because of the way it is used during the crime.” Battery & Aggravated Battery Assault and battery are often lumped together although they are distinct crimes. Simple battery–a first-degree misdemeanor–is when someone “[a]ctually and intentionally strikes touches or strikes another person” against their will, or otherwise “[i]ntentionally causes bodily harm” to them. Similar to aggravated assault, aggravated battery includes battery committed with a “deadly weapon.” Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony in Florida, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years. Have You Been Charged With a Violent Crime in Orlando? Given the significantly harsher penalties for “aggravated” assault or battery, it is important to make sure the prosecution proves all elements of its case. Put another way, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant actually had a deadly weapon at the time of the alleged offense. If the police never recover the alleged weapon, or witnesses cannot reliably describe it, that may be enough to create reasonable doubt for a jury. A qualified Orlando criminal defense attorney will help ensure that you are treated fairly by the courts. At Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, we have prior experience as prosecutors in Orange and Osceola counties, and we will put that knowledge to work for you. Call us today at 407-377-0150 if you have been charged with a crime and would need to speak with a lawyer right away.

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Top 10 Most Common Juvenile Crimes in Florida

Kids will be kids, however, when your child’s actions end in an arrest, things can get serious quickly. A fight in school can lead to an arrest for assault and battery, a simple prank can end in a charge of vandalism, and experimentation or giving into peer pressure can bring drug charges that could affect your child’s future. If your child has been charged with a crime, an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney at Moses and Rooth can help your child put the mistake behind them, so your family can move past this difficult time. Florida’s 10 Most Common Juvenile Crimes The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice found from 2013-2014 the 10 most common juvenile offenses were: Assault and Battery: Assault and battery are two separate crimes that are often charged together. Florida statute 784.011 defines assault as the intentional, unlawful threat by word or acts to do violence to another person, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act, which creates a well-founded fear in the other person that such violence is imminent. Contact does not have to occur in order to be charged with assault, however, to be charged with battery contact must be made. Florida statute 784.03 defines a battery as the actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against the will of the other person or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. Burglary: Burglary is when a person enters or remains in a building with the intent to commit a crime. Petit Larceny: A juvenile can be charged with petit larceny if the property taken was between $100 and $300. Misdemeanor Violations of Drug Laws. Aggravated Assault/Battery: If a deadly weapon is used during an assault, but there was no intent to kill or to commit a felony, then aggravated assault exists. Aggravated battery occurs when a deadly weapon is used, causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or the victim was pregnant during the offense and the offender knew or should have known the victim was pregnant. Grand Larceny (excluding auto theft): A juvenile can be charged with grand larceny if the property is valued over $300. Disorderly Conduct: Florida statute 877.03 defines disorderly conduct as acts that by nature corrupts the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engages in brawling or fighting. A number of common activities done by teens such as fighting, loitering in certain areas, or creating too much noise could fall under Florida’s definition of disorderly conduct. Misdemeanor Obstruction of Justice. Trespassing: Your child can be charged with a misdemeanor for trespassing on another’s property. Felony Drug Violations. Fighting, drug use, stealing, even creating too much noise can result in legal trouble for your child. If your child has been arrested for any of the above crimes or any other crime, contact the experienced juvenile criminal defense attorneys at Moses and Rooth to represent your child and to minimize the effects on your child’s future.

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I Never Touched The Person; Why Was I Arrested for Assault?

Many people are confused when it comes to charges of assault and battery. Although it is common for a charge of assault to accompany a battery charge, a person can be charged with an assault and not a battery. If you have been charged with an assault, battery or both, speak to an experienced assault and battery defense attorney at Moses and Rooth. The first thing necessary in trying to understand an assault charge is knowing the difference between assault and battery. Assault A person can be charged with an assault and not a battery because a person does not have to actually make contact with another person in order to be guilty of committing an assault upon another. An assault occurs when there is a threat of imminent violence, even when no contact occurs. Florida statute 784.011 defines an assault as the intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to another person, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in the other person that such violence is imminent. A threat alone of violence without contact can be enough to be charged with assault, unlike with battery. A person convicted of an assault is guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor. A second-degree misdemeanor can lead to a 60-day jail sentence. A person may also be charged with an aggravated assault if a deadly weapon is used in the threat. An aggravated assault is an assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill or intent to commit a felony. An aggravated assault is classified as a third-degree felony and holds a sentence of five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Battery Frequently, a charge of assault comes along with a battery charge, but they are not the same offense. In order to be charged with battery there must be more than a threat. There must be contact with another person by either the offender or an object the offender is using to make contact. Florida statute 784.03 defines a battery as the actual and intentional touching or striking of another person against the will of the other person or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. A person convicted of a battery is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor. A first-degree misdemeanor can hold up to a one-year jail sentence. Under Florida statute 784.045, a person commits an aggravated battery if the person intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement while committing the battery, uses a deadly weapon, or the victim was pregnant at the time of the offense and the offender knew or should have known the victim was pregnant. If convicted of an aggravated battery a person is guilty of a second-degree felony and faces up to 15 years in prison. Both assault and battery are serious charges that can hold severe punishment. If you have been arrested for assault, battery, or both contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Moses and Rooth in Florida for an explanation of the charges and options for your defense.

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