Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

Assault and Battery – Very Different Meanings in Florida Criminal Law

Words mean things.  In Florida criminal law the words “assault” and “battery” have completely different meanings. Both are criminal. Many times, in movies or television, the word assault and the words “assault and battery” are used to describe what is actually a battery in Florida. In essence, an assault is a credible threat and a battery is an unlicensed touching. 

In addition to a threat, an “assault” requires the accused to have an apparent ability to do violence and do some act which creates a well-founded fear that the violence is imminent. There are several types of enhanced or aggravated assaults categorized under Florida law.

A “battery” is an intentional touch or strike of another person against the will of the other person; or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. In a battery case, the State can charge varying degrees of felonies depending on the facts. A simple battery or a simple domestic battery are first degree misdemeanors, unless the accused has a prior, then it is a “felony battery”. There are many enhanced or aggravated battery provisions.

The elements to determine whether an assault or battery is an aggravated assault or an aggravated battery include whether an accused used a deadly weapon, such as a vehicle, or a firearm. Other elements depend on the alleged victim of the assault or battery, such as domestic violence, being pregnant, being over 65, being a law enforcement officer, or being one of several other listed government employees. Whether a defendant has a prior battery, the nature of the intent and the extent of the injuries are also taken into account in aggravated battery cases.

Some defenses such as to the extent of the injuries may require expert testimony. If you or a loved one is facing any kind of assault or battery, then click or call to hire an attorney today.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

Violation of driver’s license restrictions – Employment or Business purposes

Driving in violation of a driver license restriction can be a criminal offense in Florida. A violation of a work purposes only license or a violation of any license restricted due to a DUI conviction will result in criminal charges. Not all violations of driver license restrictions are crimes but all cases do have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. 

A common driver license restriction for people who have been convicted of DUI or have had their driver license suspended is to have an employment purposes or business purposes restriction. These licenses can be issued to self employed people.

Whether the driving qualifies as an employment or business purpose is a factual matter and the State must prove the driver was not operating a vehicle within the restrictions. In a recent case an individual was stopped after an officer observed a pick-up truck driving somewhat randomly around a residential neighborhood during the daytime. The driver claimed that he was collecting scrap as his sole source of income and described himself as “self-employed”. The trial judge convicted the driver and noted the lack of proof of employment or income such as tax filings but the appellate court held this was an improper shifting of the burden and reversed the conviction.

The best course of action on the side of the road is to realize that you have the right to remain silent. Many of these cases are proven by the video evidence of a defendant admitting the violation. If the driver made a statement, then in many instances that statement can be used against the driver in court. All hope is not lost; contact an attorney to discuss your case.

If you or a loved one is accused of any driver license or traffic offense, then click or call to have a free consultation and hire a lawyer.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

Drug Paraphernalia

Effective today, July 1, 2013 is a new law on drug paraphernalia. Typically a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia accompanies a charge of possession of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine or prescription drugs. This new law criminalizes the retail sale of drug paraphernalia. 

The items listed as unlawful are metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes, with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls. Water pipes, carburetion tubes and devices, chamber pipes, carburetor pipes, electric pipes, air-driven pipes, chillums, bongs, ice pipes or chillers. Pipes made primarily of briar, meerschaum, clay or corn cob are excluded.

Florida law lists several other items that are supposedly drug paraphernalia but not included on the unlawful to sell list. Besides the obvious scales and baggies, also listed as paraphernalia are several items which are primarily used legally such as blenders, bowls, spoons, balloons, hoses or tubes, a 2-liter-type soda bottle and duct tape. Fortunately for the hardware supply stores, duct tape did not make the list of items retailers are forbidden to sell!  Unfortunatley, this list should give every citizen pause and concern given the extent of the items an officer can claim as drug paraphernalia.

If you or a loved one needs to hire a lawyer to defend an accusation of possession or sale of drug paraphernalia, whether it is a 2-littler bottle, duct tape, blender or the usual pipe, click or call today.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529