Real Life Hamburglar & Florida’s 10 20 Life Statute

A West Palm Beach man was apparently arrested this morning after a March incident where he pointed a gun and threatened to shoot a drive-through worker at Checkers if the employee did not give the man a hamburger.

The defendant allegedly placed an order at the speaker box of Checkers, and pulled up to the window to pay for his order. The defendant attempted to place a second order while at the window, and was informed that he would have to drive back to the speaker box to place the additional order. This apparently enraged the defendant, who then pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot. He ultimately drove away without firing and was arrested after police officers found a vehicle with a tag matching the description of the gunman’s car. He has been charged with aggravated assault.

As discussed in my previous article, aggravated assault is a third degree felony in the State of Florida, punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison. Florida Statute 784.021 defines aggravated assault as an assault (which is a threat to do violence to another person combined with an apparent ability to carry out the threat and doing some act that creates fear of imminent violence) with a deadly weapon (such as a gun) without intent to kill, or with the intent to commit a felony.

However, under Florida’s 10-20-Life Statute (Florida Statute 775.087), there is a minimum mandatory sentence of three (3) years Florida State Prison for a person who is convicted of aggravated assault if the person possessed a “firearm” during the assault, even if the person did not fire the weapon. Discharging a firearm would result in even more mandatory prison time.

Aggravated Assault is a serious crime in the State of Florida; even more so when it involves a firearm. A simple moment of anger could turn into serious prison time when a gun is involved. Anyone facing felony charges of aggravated assault with a firearm in Palm Beach County, Florida, should speak with a Palm Beach County Criminal Defense Attorney.

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.

Aggravated Battery

In the State of Florida, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon is a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in Florida State Prison and a fine of $10,000.00 if convicted. Aggravated battery is codified by Florida Statute 784.045 and is defined as committing a battery (which is touching another person against his or her will) and either (1) purposefully causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the victim, (2) using a deadly weapon, or (3) knowingly committing battery on a pregnant person.

Recently in Palm Beach County, a criminal case made the news when a defendant was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after allegedly hitting her spouse with a glass candle holder. A “deadly weapon” does not have to be a firearm or even a car. Instead, a deadly weapon can be virtually any object that can be threatened to be used to cause death or great bodily harm to another person. Interestingly, if that defendant had used her fists instead of the candle holder, she likely would have only faced charges for simple battery, which is punishable only by up to one year in county jail and fine of $1,000.00.

There may be applicable defenses in an aggravated battery case, including but not limited to self-defense. A Florida criminal defense attorney will be able to review a battery case and the facts surrounding the incident, determine whether there are any applicable defenses, and talk with the State Attorney’s office to attempt to negotiate a favorable plea bargain or a reduction of charges. A felony conviction in Florida is serious and will have severe consequences. Anyone facing battery charges in the State of Florida, including aggravated battery, should discuss their options with a Florida criminal defense attorney.

 

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.