Articles Posted in Assault

The 33-year-old Ohio father of a teenage girl was sentenced to two years in prison for an attack on a teen boy who had allegedly propositioned the 13-year-old girl while on a cruise ship off the coast of Florida.cruiseship

The incident occurred on an Independence of the Seas cruise ship back in the summer of 2015, where defendant and his family were vacationing. Defendant’s brother-in-law reportedly overheard the teen boy, age 14, offer his daughter a key chain in exchange for giving him her virginity. Authorities then said defendant took no action to intervene when the 31-year-old brother-in-law grabbed the boy in the library of the ship, forced him to pull down his pants and simulated a sexual act on him.

He was arrested and later convicted on charges of child abuse and false imprisonment. Despite his repeated apologies to the court and insistence that he meant no harm, the judge pointed out the man had failed to apologize to the teen boy himself.  Continue reading

A 24-year-old South Florida man stands accused of assault with a deadly weapon for throwing a live alligator into a fast-food restaurant drive-thru window. His father recently spoke out, saying his son is a “nature lover” with a “good heart,” and the ordeal was simply, “a prank.”alligator2

Unfortunately, intent in these matters is of little consequence in the eyes of the criminal justice system. He allegedly willfully tossed the 3.5-foot creature at the unsuspecting fast food workers would, if proven, render his reported lack of harmful intention meaningless.

In fact, it has been our experience that most people accused of criminal conduct had failed to fully grasp the seriousness of their actions under the law. Sometimes this, along with a lack of prior criminal record and other factors, can be asserted as mitigating circumstances to justify a lesser penalty. However, it cannot on its own be grounds to drop the charges entirely.  Continue reading

The Florida Supreme Court has once again taken on the issue of the controversial “Stand Your Ground Law,” ruling explicitly that the burden is on the defendant to prove he or she is entitled to immunity under this statute.
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In Bretherick v. Florida, defendant had argued the onus was on the prosecution to show why such immunity did not apply. Amicus curiae briefs were filed with the court by the National Rifle Association of America and Florida Carry, Inc. in support of defendant.

The district court denied defense motion to dismiss on these grounds. Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal then affirmed that by finding it was the defendant who had a burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, at the pretrial evidentiary hearing, that he or she is entitled to immunity. However, the 5th DCA then certified the question to the state supreme court for review as a matter of great public importance. Justices with the Florida Supreme Court agreed with the 5th District panel.
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Rapper and music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs will avoid felony charges after an incident in which he allegedly swung a kettlebell weight during an angry confrontation with one of his son’s college football coaches.football3.jpg

Initially, Combs was arrested on a number of serious crimes, including battery, making criminal threats and assault with a deadly weapon.

In California, where this incident occurred, the crime of “assault” is what is known as a “wobbler,” which means prosecutors have the discretion to decide whether to file the charge as a felony or misdemeanor, based on the totality of the circumstances.

Some factors they may consider include:
–Prior criminal history
–Whether anyone was injured
–Strength of the evidence Continue reading

There is a tendency among criminal defendants facing serious felony charges to assume they have few options. gun41.jpg

Pressured by prosecutors and busy public defenders, defendants may be be quick to accept a less-than-advantageous plea deal, simply because they assume there is little chance of successfully fighting the charges at trial.

But here is what our Fort Lauderdale defense attorneys want you to know: No matter what evidence is stacked against you, never conclude the rap is unbeatable. In many cases, there are factors that can matter more than the evidence.
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Inmates at both the Broward County and Palm Beach County Jails are notorious for their creativity. That is, the creative ways in which they use every-day objects and turn them into weapons. toothbrush.jpg

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know sometimes, it’s done out of fear or for protection. Other times anger or revenge. In other cases, it simply comes down to a combination of boredom and having the time.

Either way, we want our clients to understand, particularly while they are awaiting trial, that an assault and battery committed while you are incarcerated could negatively impact your current case. To say nothing of the additional criminal charges.

Florida Statute 784.082
addresses assault or battery by a person who is being detained at an detention facility upon either another detainee or a visitor. If the crime committed is an assault, it’s considered a first-degree misdemeanor, which could tack on another year to your jail sentence. If you commit a simple battery, that is, with your fists or other body parts, it’s could be either a first-degree misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, which could mean anywhere from another year to five years added to your sentence.

For aggravated battery, that is, an attack with a deadly weapon or an assault that causes serious harm, you could be facing a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to life in prison.

If you commit a battery on a staff member at such a facility, it’s a third-degree felony. Despite the severe consequences, such instances are common. It’s the reason so many items at both facilities have been banned.

For example, inmates at one time used to be served a bone-in, pork chop dinner. But that came to a halt several years ago after one inmate stole away with a bone, sharpened it into a shank and stabbed another inmate.

Wardens have also banned dental floss. There had been cases where inmates used the string to strangle other individuals or to create rope.

Long-handled toothbrushes, too, are a thing of the past at jails. These items were being routinely used to be sharpened and make shanks.

Broom and mop handles have been fashioned to create spears, while the wheels of the mop bucket can be stuffed into a sock to create a weighted whip. The metal that goes around that wheel? Makes a handy metal blade.

And while inmates don’t have access to Tasers, unless they steal them from a corrections officer, they can surprisingly make them on their own, using the wiring of headphones or a radio and a battery. This combination has also been known for use as a water heater and cigarette lighter.

Still, the safety precautions taken by the jail have drawn the ire of inmates, who say that not having floss or regular toothbrushes (instead they have rubber tips which fit over the finger) has caused dental problems.
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A Fort Lauderdale assault case is raising the question of whether intoxication is a valid defense for a crime under Florida law. ear.jpg

Fort Lauderdale assault defense attorneys know that, certainly, drugs or alcohol abuse are factors in many crimes. But does it matter whether a person is too drunk or drugged to know that their actions are wrong?

Before we answer that, let’s look at the case in question.

According to The Sun-Sentinel, a Connecticut man is accused of getting into a bar fight in Fort Lauderdale, which resulted in the defendant reportedly biting off the ear of the alleged victim.

Reports indicate that the 29-year-old defendant had been drinking at the bar for about five hours straight. He was belligerent, and started an argument with a stranger who was walking by.

In a video posted to YouTube, the victim is seen attempting to calmly walk away. The defendant charges at him and bites his ear, causing it to become severed from his head. Doctors were not able to reattach it.

The men continued to brawl until an officer broke it up.

The intoxicated man was arrested on charges of assault, a second-degree misdemeanor under FL Statute 784.011, and aggravated battery, which is a second-degree felony under FL Statute 784.045, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The ear-biter’s Fort Lauderdale defense attorney has said that his client remembers none of the incident. He was reportedly so intoxicated that he has no recollection of it whatsoever. His attorney also said his client has expressed remorse, and because he does not remember the incident, can offer no motive.

But does the fact that he was so drunk that he had no intent to harm the individual matter?

No. Not likely in this case, anyway.

Prior to 1999, it would have been a valid defense for certain crimes where intent was critical to proving guilt.

But now, under FL Statute 775.051, voluntary intoxication is not a defense. Voluntary intoxication is described as a state of intoxication which was voluntarily brought about. That means that you intentionally consumed alcohol or drugs. Whether or not you intended to become intoxicated, the court believes you knew that to be a risk when you consumed those items, and therefore, you are still considered liable for whatever actions you take after that.

However, just like in English grammar, there are always exceptions.

The exception would be involuntary intoxication. This would be a state of intoxication which can generally be described as having been brought about by the lawful or prescribed consumption of a substance by your doctor that rendered you legally insane. This was decided by the state’s district court of appeals in Miller v. State back in 1995.

So for example, if you are prescribed a drug by your doctor – a drug that you use in accordance with that prescription – and it can be proven that you became unintentionally intoxicated as a result, this can be used as a defense. Now, if you take your legal prescription and the effects are compounded by alcohol consumption, you may lose that legal footing.

It’s important to note that each case is unique, which is why it’s critical to consult with a Fort Lauderdale Assault attorney who can help you explore all possible defenses.
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The wife of Fort Lauderdale police chief Frank Adderley has been spared a 20 year minimum mandatory sentence by the Office of the State Attorney for Broward County. Eleanor Adderley was originally charged with aggravated assault with a firearm which carries a stiff 20 year minimum sentence. However, the charge was amended to aggravated assault without a firearm. Bizarrely, her plea also includes the charge of using a gun in an occupied building.

After negotiations with Jeff Marcus, chief of the felony division for the Broward State Attorney’s Office, Eleanor Adderley was offered a plea deal that would effectively bypass the 20 year minimum sentence. Marcus said the bargain was a practical way of tailoring the punishment to the crime.
“It’s in essence a legal fiction,” Marcus said. “Did she discharge the weapon? Of course she did, right? But if we deem that the mandatory sentence would not be appropriate, then we would amend those words out.” It’s a means to “the right result,” Marcus said.

Regardless, many are left to wonder why such an exception was made in this case. “My first impression is that the counts of the plea bargain are internally inconsistent and incompatible, because one of the counts omits the presence of the firearm, while the other presumes the presence of a firearm,” said Tony Alfieri, director of the University of Miami law school’s Center for Ethics and Public Service. “My second impression is that the plea bargain not only mocks the notion of even-handed criminal justice but also undermines public confidence in the fair and unbiased enforcement of the law.”

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