Violent Crimes in Vehicles
Cars are part of our everyday lives. Most adults have a driver’s license and drive their own vehicles on a daily basis. Even when someone does not own a car, they may routinely be behind the wheel of friends and family member’s vehicles or rental cars. It should come as no surprise then that vehicles can be used in the commission of crimes, and not just as a getaway car. Vehicles can be used as a weapon, leading to aggravated battery and vehicular homicide.
You may be charged with aggravated battery under Florida’s State Statutes §784.045 if you intentionally or knowingly cause another person great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, or if you commit battery by using a deadly weapon. Battery is defined as actually and intentionally touching or striking another person against their will.
When you read “deadly weapon,” your mind goes to a gun or knife. However, in Florida, a deadly weapon could be anything used to commit a battery or attempt to significantly harm or kill another person. Theoretically, this may include any vehicle or object likely to cause severe harm. If you intentionally hit or even touch someone with your car, motorcycle, hammer, or knife, you could be charged with aggravated battery, a second-degree felony.
However, Florida courts are divided on the question of whether a vehicle can be a deadly weapon, and the issue is going before the Florida Supreme Court. In 2018, the court may hand down a more definite answer as to whether vehicles can be deadly weapons or not.
Under §782.071, you can be charged with vehicular homicide if you cause the death of another person or unborn child by recklessly driving in a way that is likely to cause other people great bodily harm or death. Recklessly driving could involve speeding to a significant degree, intentionally driving on the wrong side of the road, tailgating, weaving between lanes, or driving while impaired due to drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both.
Depending on the circumstances, you can be charged with a second- or first-degree felony. You will face a first-degree felony if you knew or should have known at the time that there had been an accident and you failed to stop, provide aid, and exchange information as is required by law.
If you are charged with a second-degree felony in Florida, you could be punished with up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Have You Been Charged With a Vehicular Offense?
If you are being charged with a Florida crime that involved the use of a vehicle, call our experienced Central Florida criminal defense attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. at 407-483-0500. We will thoroughly review your situation to determine if we have a valid reason to push for the charges to be dropped, if we have leverage to have the charges reduced, and the strongest potential defense strategies. If you are charged with an assault or battery offense involving a vehicle, we will aggressively argue that a vehicle is not a deadly weapon. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today and schedule a time to discuss your case.