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.
As to the defendant’s first-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief conviction, however, the court noted that the defendant’s argument that the conviction could not stand because the State failed to introduce evidence of the cost of the damage to the truck was valid. Thus, absent the necessary proof, the conviction was reduced to a second-degree misdemeanor in accordance with Florida law.
Speak to a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney in Florida
Attempting to destroy property can result in significant criminal penalties, including offenses involving the intentional harm of other individuals. If you are charged with assault or any other violent crimes, you should speak to a lawyer regarding your possible defenses. Florida criminal defense attorney Genine Ann Mejia is skilled at arguing on behalf of parties accused of serious offenses, and if you hire her, she will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can contact Ms. Mejia via the online form or at (386) 463-0849 to schedule a conference.