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Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

In some instances, people can be charged with violent crimes against other individuals even if they only intend to destroy property. The State must nonetheless prove each element of the charged offense, though; otherwise, a defendant should not be convicted, and any conviction based on insufficient evidence should not be upheld. Recently, a Florida court issued an opinion explaining the evidence needed to establish guilt for assault and criminal mischief in a case in which the defendant was charged with multiple crimes after attacking a postal vehicle. If you are accused of assault or any other violent crime, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Florida criminal defense attorney regarding your rights.

The Alleged Attack

It is reported that the victim was sitting in the driver’s seat of a postal truck when the defendant suddenly struck the truck with a two by four plank. The victim was sorting mail at the time of the initial impact and heard a loud crash. He then looked up and saw the defendant striking the truck a second time with the plank. The victim began to drive the truck away, at which point the defendant hit the truck with the plank again. When the victim reached a safe distance, he called 911. The defendant was ultimately detained and charged with first-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief, aggravated assault, and other offenses. He moved for acquittal on the charges of assault and criminal mischief, but his motion was denied, and he was convicted. He then appealed.

Evidence Needed to Convict a Defendant for Aggravated Assault and Criminal Mischief

On appeal, the court affirmed the defendant’s conviction for aggravated assault. The court was not persuaded by the defendant’s argument that the State failed to prove that he committed an act that was significantly likely to place the victim in fear of imminent violence. Instead, the court found that when viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the State, it sufficiently demonstrated that the defendant knew that the victim was in the truck. Specifically, he hit the truck three times near the driver’s side door, and the third hit occurred after the truck had moved forward. Continue reading ›

Battery is a unique crime in that multiple acts may be considered a single criminal offense, or each act may be charged separately. Regardless of how battery crimes are charged, however, the State must prove each element of the offense to obtain a conviction, which requires that the jury be properly advised as to how to evaluate the evidence presented at trial. This was discussed in a recent Florida ruling in which the court evaluated what constitutes a proper jury instruction in a battery case. If you are charged with a battery crime, it is smart to talk to a trusted Florida criminal defense attorney to discuss your potential rights.

The Alleged Acts of Battery

It is reported that the defendant got in a verbal altercation with the victim, who was his ex-girlfriend. The fight became physical, and the defendant flicked a lit cigarette at the victim, shoved her, and pushed her throughout the course of the argument. He was charged with battery with two or more battery convictions. During the trial, the defendant’s counsel objected to the verdict form because it did not distinguish between each act and he stated that it did not require a unanimous verdict. The court overruled the objection, finding that there was a continuous chain of events with no intervening actions. The defendant was convicted, after which he appealed.

Verdict Charges in Florida Battery Cases

On appeal, the court explained that a trial court’s use of a general verdict form that does not ensure a unanimous verdict is a reversible error. Where a single count embraces multiple separate offenses, even if they all violate the same statute, a jury cannot convict a defendant unless its verdict is unanimous as to a minimum of one of the acts specified. In the subject case, the defendant argued that the trial court erred in allowing the jury to deliberate on three separate acts of battery when he was only charged with one offense.

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