Articles Posted in Battery

According to the Sun Sentinel, a fight between two neighbors ensued after one criticized the other about his habit of feeding the ducks that reside in their mobile home community muscovy-duck-1154439-m.jpg
The melee was apparently serious enough that the older gentleman (the one who initiated the verbal exchange) wound up in the hospital, while the other wound up arrested and charged with battery.

Our criminal defense lawyers understand that this particular case highlights two issues: first, that disagreements between neighbors over otherwise trivial issues such as feeding local ducks can quickly get out of hand and second, that crimes such as battery come with a more severe punishment if the victim was at least 65 years of age.
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Those who suffer from infectious diseases shouldn’t be charged with aggravated circumstances in cases of assault, simply by virtue of their illness. teeth.jpg

Our Fort Lauderdale defense attorneys know this was the core issue in People v. Plunkett, which was decided recently in the New York State Court of Appeals.

While this case is out of New York, Florida criminal defense lawyers know aggravated assault charges are often complicated by what authorities claim as “aggravated.”

The facts of the case, as described by Chief Appellate Judge Lippman, are this:

The defendant was convicted in county court of aggravated assault on a peace officer, following his entering a plea of guilty. The evidence was purportedly based on testimony by the officer that he was bitten by the defendant on the finger as the officer tried to make an arrest. The defendant in this case is HIV positive. Additionally, he has an extensive history of psychiatric illness.

The officer in this case had initiated the arrest because the defendant had opened a bag of marijuana in the waiting room of his primary care doctor’s office.

Under normal circumstances, the bite that the officer sustained would garner a charge of assault on a peace officer. However, because the defendant was HIV-positive, he was charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer.

Prosecutors contended that the so-called “dangerous instruments” necessary to meet the statutory requirement for the threshold of aggravating circumstances were the defendant’s teeth, particularly by virtue of the fact that he was HIV-positive and HIV is known to cause AIDS, an autoimmune disease that has been known to cause severe illness and death, particularly if untreated.

However, the appellate court, in examining the defendant’s appeal, relied on the case law established in a case known as People v. Owusu. That case determined that a person’s teeth could not be defined as an “instrument” under the law. What’s more, that case held that no individual body part could be construed as a dangerous “instrument,” even if it was used to produce injury.

Now this was an issue the trial court wrestled with as well, although the judge in that case believed that because the defendant was afflicted with the AIDS virus, his saliva in and of itself was a substance capable of causing death or other serious injury. The teen, argued the prosecution, were merely a means to inject that dangerous substance into the police officer’s body.

The defendant ultimately pleaded guilty, but did not waive his right to an appeal.

The appellate court chose to decide the issue purely on the merits of whether that initial charge was appropriate. Although the lower court had held that the saliva itself was a dangerous substance, the appellate court ruled instead that the saliva was a part of one’s person, as defined by earlier case law.

In fact, the court ruled that if it were to deem certain parts of the body as weapons, simply based on their characteristics, it would be weighing cases in which a person’s height, weight and strength relevant to the alleged victim’s would be considered a factor for the severity of the crime. This would result, as they put it, in a sliding scale of criminality in which a larger person could be charged with a greater offense than a smaller person who committed the exact same act. This is a slippery legal slope, and the court rightly recognized it here.
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A Port St. Lucie assault between two teen girls has landed one of the girl’s parents in jail. boxing.jpg

Our Port St. Lucie defense attorneys understand that police claim the altercation was encouraged by the parents. They have been arrested on both felony and misdemeanor charges, though media reports have not indicated exactly what those charges are.

According to FL Statute 548.0065). That’s considered a second-degree misdemeanor.

A 39-year-old Riviera Beach man now faces charges of burglary with assault or battery, robbery by sudden snatching and aggravated battery on a person 65 or older in connection with an attack on a 79-year-old woman who’s neck was broken, The Palm Beach Post reports.

Florida law allows for enhanced penalties for certain circumstances, whether it be the location of a drug sale in Fort Lauderdale, age of a victim in a West Palm Beach battery or if a weapon is used in a crime.
Our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers believe that because of these enhancements it’s even more important that defendants have sound legal representation. Without an advocate, a person won’t have the benefit of years of experience and knowledge about the law, past court cases and effective strategies to point out facts that can work in the defendant’s favor.

In this case, according to the news report, a 79-year-old woman told police that when she pulled into her garage around 4:15 p.m.. one weekday afternoon, she was hit with something she described as a “sledge hammer” between her shoulders. The woman was knocked to the ground unconscious and when she woke up, her wallet, cell phone, papers, credit cards and other goods were missing.

When the woman came-to, she went to a neighbor’s house and called 911. The woman was transported to a local hospital, where she was given surgery to fix a broken neck.

Police detectives told the newspaper that they later found the woman’s purse and phone in an alley trash can in Lake Worth. They say they were able to obtain video surveillance of the woman’s Mastercard being used at a gas station in Lake Worth as well.

Detectives say the video surveillance shows a man similar to the suspect trying to use the card. They said they found fingerprints on some of the items at the scene that matched some found in a fingerprint database matching the suspect.

What must be questioned is whether police have solid proof that the fingerprints are a match and that they can prove the man was at the scene. Without that, it’s possible the two met in some other way or the print match isn’t accurate.

Also, if police aren’t able to prove the man is connected to those stolen goods, it may be difficult to prove he stolen them or committed the assault. It’s rare that a person is attacked by a random stranger in a different city. So, if there are no witnesses who saw the attack, simply having grainy video that isn’t conclusive may not be enough for a conviction.

These are serious felony charges that can result in years or decades in prison. Prosecutors must have more proof than circumstantial evidence if they hope to lock down a conviction. And defendants must have solid legal representation in order to ensure that they get a fair trial and their rights are upheld.
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West Palm Beach police recently arrested a Lake Worth man and charged him with assaulting an officer during a nightclub brawl, The Palm Beach Post is reporting.

Charges of battery on a law enforcement officer in West Palm Beach are more serious than regular battery simply because of the victim. When an everyday citizen is injured in an attack, the charges are less serious for the defendant.
Lawmakers have attempted to protect law enforcement officers by increasing penalties against people who would consider an attack. West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers understand the motivation behind this move, but it still places law enforcement officers above the citizens they serve. All victims should have the same value in the eyes of the law. But they don’t.

Another issue in cases like these is finding unbiased jurors. When a police officer is introduced as the victim in a case, jurors may not be able to properly do their jobs. While prospective jurors who are related to officers or who have friends who are officers can easily get weeded out of a jury, other people may be more difficult to screen.

Some people just have grown up believing that officers should have more credibility as witnesses, that their words are more powerful and trustworthy. Some citizens believe that law enforcement officers should get extra rights or more protection than other people. And while those are fine beliefs to have, that may not make them good jurors — especially when the alleged victim is a cop.

In this case, according to the news report, the 23-year-old is now facing charges of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and aggravated battery. He is accused of beating an officer who was trying to break up a fight at a night club. He allegedly punched the officer with a “tool” from his key chain.

When officers arrived, they allegedly found the man and his fiancee fighting. The suspect struggled with officers and allegedly punched one in the face. Two officers and a bouncer got the man out of the club. Outside, an officer tried to fire a Taser at the man, but missed. Officers then chased him into an alley and arrested him.

Florida Statutes 784.07 defines aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. It spells out who can be considered a victim under the law and lays out the possible penalties. A person who is convicted faces at least three years in prison. If a weapon is used, penalties could be tougher.

Aggravated battery is knowingly causing great bodily harm, disability or disfigurement to a person. If a person is battered with a weapon, that also qualifies under this law. A person charged with this crime can face a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years behind bars.

These are serious charges that are enhanced by the identity of the victim in this case. It is important to be properly represented if you are facing a criminal charge. The more serious the charge, the more important. Every defendant should have their day in court.
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A 25-year-old Boca Raton woman now faces a charge of inciting a riot in Pompano Beach after a bawl at a bowling alley, the Sun Sentinel is reporting.

The newspaper states that the woman was jailed after 20 to 30 people began fighting at the bowling alley. Inciting a riot, under Florida Statutes 870.01, can be punished either as a first-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony.
According to the law, an affray is essentially a fight in a public area. Officers can charge someone with a first-degree misdemeanor in that case. A riot, however, is the more serious charge. That is encouraging or inciting a large-scale fight or disturbance in a public place.

In either situation, the defendant will need an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer. Any charge, whether misdemeanor or felony, requires legal counsel because they can have serious consequences.

While it’s true that a misdemeanor carries lower penalties, that doesn’t mean a conviction won’t end up hurting a person’s career or ruining relationships. Avoiding a conviction can help a person repair their image and reputation, as well.

Jail or prison time is a possibility any time there is a felony charge, so it’s something all suspects facing these type of charges need to keep in mind.

According to the newspaper, the woman was at a bowling alley on North Federal Highway. Two large groups were bowling, with one of the groups acting more boisterously than the other. Members of the louder group had been drinking and were using obscene gestures in a joking manner.

The other group, however, included children and took offense to the antics. When they asked the other group to stop, an argument started.

The woman who was later arrested allegedly threw two full drink glasses at a woman in the other group and then allegedly threw a punch and chair at the woman. A sheriff’s deputy reported seeing some of the actions when he first arrived at the alley in response to a 911 call.

The woman was arrested and charged with encouraging others to start in the fight. Another person was charged with refusing to leave the scene of the crime.

From what’s printed in the news article, it’s unclear what proof the sheriff’s deputy had to charge the woman with inciting a riot. It’s also not clear what actions the suspect took to try to get other people to join a fight. If the only witnesses who say the woman was trying to get others into a fight were the alleged victims, the state may not have a strong case. Victims are always going to seek the most serious charges and bring up the worst possible allegations.

The testimony of any criminal case witnesses – but especially that of alleged victims — must be looked at with a healthy dose of skepticism. A trained Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney is able to find weaknesses in the state’s case.
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In typical South Florida fashion, a 24-year-old has made national headlines after being arrested following a domestic violence incident during which he allegedly threw his own feces at his girlfriend, The Palm Beach Post reports.

While some may snicker, lawmakers have not joked around regarding similar incidents. In fact, in Florida, such a violation can result in a charge of aggravated battery in West Palm Beach, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
This is a commonly filed charge when inmates try to throw their own bodily fluids at jail and prison guards. Our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers understand how serious a charge this is and while strange circumstances, it must be handled like any other criminal case.

According to Florida Statutes 784.045, aggravated battery is when someone uses a deadly weapon or causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement in committing a battery. A battery is intentionally striking another person.

In this case, a 19-year-old woman claims that her boyfriend, five years her senior, threw body waste at her during a recent argument. He was also charged with beating her during the same argument, The Palm Beach Post reports.

The 24-year-old was being held on $26,000 bond after being charged with battery, aggravated battery and criminal mischief. According to police, an officer was sent to the couple’s home, where the 19-year-old claimed the battery took place. She said he threw waste at her and also hit her with his hands and a bed board.

The news article doesn’t provide any details about what evidence the police have to back up her claims. According to The Miami New Times, the report states that the woman declined medical attention, despite a large abrasion on her chest. She was photographed and provided a statement. The man also had a small abrasion on his let arm.

It’s hard to imagine that a person could be beaten and hit with a bed board and not suffer permanent injuries that require medical attention. In this case, the woman claims she was the victim, but the man, too, was injured. Simply being arrested doesn’t necessarily mean police got the right person.

This is especially true in domestic violence situations. Often, it comes down to one person’s word against another’s, with little evidence to sway police either way. Whomever identifies as the victim usually is treated as such by officers, who tend to arrest the other person and consider them the suspect.

This can lead to serious charges as shown in this situation. But regardless of what one witness says, the state must have solid proof before they attempt to put someone in prison for a number of years. Our criminal justice system is based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt and that’s what the state must have, regardless of the circumstances and the charge.
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A 79-year-old man is charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in Fort Lauderdale after allegedly shooting a boy, NBC Miami reports.

This is a serious charge levied against an older man. And he, and others like him, must have an experienced Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney who will examine all aspects of the case and scrutinize all evidence the state intends to use at trial.
Battery charges in Florida can be charged as a felony and can lead to years or decades in prison, depending on the circumstances. Some people can get confused about the difference between battery and assault. Assault is threatening to do harm to a person, whereas battery is committing the physical abuse. Therefore, battery charges typically carry tougher penalties.

For instance, felony battery is punishable as a third-degree felony under Florida Statutes 784.03. That means a person can spend up to five years in prison, if convicted.

But Florida Statutes 784.045 defines aggravated battery, which is punishable as a second-degree felony and up to 15 years in a state prison. Aggravated battery means committing a battery while using a deadly weapon or intentionally causing disability, great bodily harm or disfigurement.

This particular case is a bit odd because, according to NBC News, the man was agitated at neighborhood boys knocking on his door. Police say boys were playing football in the street when the man came out of his house and fired a gun twice into the ground.

According to the news report, a bullet hit a 12-year-old boy who was outside playing. Police said the man intended to scare off the boys by firing the gun. Witnesses said the man allegedly came out of his house after a football hit the back yard. He was denied bond and was required to spend an extra day in jail before reappearing in court.

Along with base penalties that are laid out under Florida law, prosecutors can sometimes enhance the penalties against the defendant based on the use of a weapon, including a gun, knife, baseball bat and even a vehicle.

In cases of battery, an aggressive Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney must examine all the evidence, including eyewitness statements, if there are any, the victim’s statement and what police officers write up in reports. Sometimes, the statements of witnesses contradict each other and can create doubt in the state’s case. In this case, whether the defendant is suffering from dementia or other health issues could also come into play.

There is also physical evidence that must be examined. State crime laboratories may very well be used to examine bullets and other physical evidence at the scene. Scrutinizing their work and questioning whether or not there are matches and physical probabilities that the defendant committed the crime are essential elements to a strong defense.

Perhaps most importantly is attacking whether or not evidence in the case should be used against the defendant. Filing motions to suppress evidence and statements can be crucial in eliminating evidence from trial if it was obtained improperly by police.
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viagra.jpgIn Davie, Florida, a 68-year-old man was arrested and charged with battery after slapping his wife with an open hand and pushing her to the floor.

According to a Davie police complaint, the man became angry when he arrived home and asked his wife for his Viagra medication. She reportedly told him she’d tossed them into the front yard, which sparked his outburst. The wife apparently told police that in 31 years, she’d never seen him that angry.

The man’s bail was set at $10,000 after the wife told the judge she was not afraid of her husband and that she thought he’d learned his lesson. The judge has ordered that the man accused of battery may only have indirect contact with his wife for the time being following his release.

Source: Dispute over Viagra leads to arrest for battery, South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 29, 2010 Continue reading

college_students.jpgOn Tuesday night, University of Florida police arrested a man who is suspected of inappropriately touching several female students on campus. Police had warned students Monday night after a woman reported being assaulted near Fine Arts Building C.

According to the victim’s account, the man approached her and said there was a large insect on her back. He then started brushing her back and told her the insect had crawled under her shirt and down the back of her pants. The suspect also tried to put his hand down her pants without her consent. Detectives at UR say there may be as many as 30 women who are possible victims of sexual battery.

As of Wednesday morning, Robin Garg, a 22-year-old student at UF, was being held without bond at the Alachua County jail on charges of battery. He was arrested near the Marston Science Library and was caught after trying to run from officers. According to Lt. Robert Wagner, it is likely that Garg will get additional charges.

UF police arrest man who groped woman on campus,, April 15, 2009 Continue reading

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