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Q: Florida Criminal Law, Aggravated Battery ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Florida Criminal Law, Aggravated Battery
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: argusfl-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 09 Jun 2006 14:39 PDT
Expires: 09 Jul 2006 14:39 PDT
Question ID: 736801
I would like a case in point. The facts: Driver of Car A (hereinafter
A) Bumps driver of Car B (hereinafter B)with his front bumper,
slightly to call attention to the police in order to identify B who is
suspected by A of being involved in harrasment and other crimes. B and
3 more passengers
complain of battery and A is arrested for aggravated battery. What are
A's defenses. A is under a lot of stress from B and other antagonizers
and does not realize that his way of investigating is wrong. A's state
of mind at the time he bumped B was not to hurt anyone but to call for

Request for Question Clarification by cynthia-ga on 09 Jun 2006 15:10 PDT
A bumped B.
Since B reacted in an agressive manner, A called the police.
B was assulted by A, OR are lying about being assulted.
A was charged with "Aggravated Battery".

What are A's defenses for the charge of battery? 

A needs an attorney. If he has no funds he can get a public defender,
it is their job to discuss this with their client.

Is there some reason A is not in touch with an attorney?
Subject: Re: Florida Criminal Law, Aggravated Battery
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 09 Jun 2006 18:32 PDT
Dear argusfl-ga; 

Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. You?re
a new guy on the block so I?ll give you my introductory spiel. I have
been in law enforcement since 1981 and have a significant amount of
insight into the law, how to interpret the statutes, and how they
apply to certain circumstances according to state law. Since our
policy prohibits us from offering legal advice (see disclaimer below)
and the very nature of your question solicits opinion, I will offer
you mine based on my years of experience and publish information
considering situations similar to yours.

First opinion - the bad news: Honestly, it will be very difficult to
defend your actions in this situation. In Florida harassment comes in
many forms but is almost all instances it is considered a misdemeanor.


In addition, Florida does not have a statutory guideline that permits
a ?citizen arrest? except in common law, and even in that situation it
extends primarily to businesses wherein a business owner or staff
member detects a theft or other crime on their owned premises and
detains a party for that reason.

?On March 6th, 2001, State Attorney, Jim Appleman confirmed an
assertion by Chief Holloway that Club La Vela did not have the right
to detain individuals suspected of possessing or dealing drugs at the
club. In an interoffice memorandum, he stated that Florida State Law
only allowed individuals to be detained by a business in two
circumstances: 1) a merchant can detain someone when they have
probable cause to believe that the suspect committed retail theft and
that the detention will result in recovery of the property, and 2) the
operator of a hotel or resturaunt may also detain a suspect for
disorderly conduct. Mr. Appleman further suggested that a citizen's
arrest could be made by a Club La Vela staff member, but that the
staff member and Club La Vela would be opening the door to liability
suits if the arrest were mishandled in any way. A citizen's arrest
procedure does not actually exist in Florida state law, however, Mr.
Appleman asserted that Florida common law allowed for the practice.?


Furthermore, Florida?s statutes do not permit the use of force in
response to a misdemeanor. Bumping (or ?ramming?, as the prosecution
will almost certainly assert) with your car is definitely considered a
?use of force? in Florida and virtually every other state


Second opinion - the ?potentially? good news and possible defenses:

Let?s take my last reference first while it?s still fresh on our
minds. Depending on the magnitude of ?the other crimes? you say
occurred, you may be able to justify ?bumping? other the car in order
to prevent ?B? from causing you great bodily harm.

?776.012 Use of force in defense of person.--A person is justified in
the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the
extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is
necessary to defend himself or herself or another against such other's
imminent use of unlawful force. However, the person is justified in
the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that
such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm
to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission
of a forcible felony.?

It is not a defense that you used force simply because ?B? attempted
to commit, committed, or was escaping after the commission of, a
forcible felony, or that ?B? initially provoked the use of force. It
is, however, a defense in all those instances if:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he
or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he
or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger
other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great
bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the
assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she
desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant
continues or resumes the use of force.
-- 776.041 Use of force by aggressor --

Having said that, if you can justify your actions based on these
criteria you may, on the advice of an attorney (which I highly
recommend), consider using that as a defense.

Finally, in Florida a person has an understood right to defend himself
by choosing the lesser of two evils if forced to do so. This is
commonly called ?Defense of Necessity? and is a rare but valid defense
established by judicial precedent. Florida court cited an old English
case re: Reninger v. Fagossa, 1 Plowd. 1, 19, 75 Eng.Rep. 1, 29-30
(1551): "Where the words of the law are broken to avoid greater
inconvenience, or through necessity, or by compulsion," the law has
not been broken.? Based on this fair rule of law, in 1989 the Florida
legislature passed into the Florida Statutes (1989) law Section 2.01,
which provides:
?The common and statute laws of England which are of a general and not
a local nature ... are declared to be of force in this state;
provided, the said statutes and common law be not inconsistent with
the Constitution and laws of the United States and the acts of the
Legislature of this state.?


In re: McCoy v Florida, the appeals judge wrote:

A defendant is entitled to have the jury instructed on the rules of
law applicable to his theory of defense if there is any evidence to
support such instructions.? Hooper v. State, 476 So. 2d 1253, 1256
(Fla. 1985). The elements of the necessity defense are
(1) that the defendant reasonably believed that his action was
necessary to avoid an imminent threat of death or serious bodily
injury to himself or others, (2) that the defendant did not
intentionally or recklessly place himself in a situation in which it
would be probable that he would be forced to choose the criminal
(3) that there existed no other adequate means to avoid the threatened
harm except the criminal conduct
(4) that the harm sought to be avoided was more egregious than the
criminal conduct perpetrated to avoid it, and
(5) that the defendant ceased the criminal conduct as soon as the
necessity or apparent necessity for it ended.


The rule then is that that Florida recognizes ?Defense of Necessity?
but hears the issues only on a case-by-case basis. With that in mind,
you might consider asking your attorney to review this possibility as
an arguable defense. That being, perhaps: You were not ?assaulting?
anyone, rather you were trying to draw the attention of a nearby law
enforcement officer to your own victimization because you had not
other means to do so. Contrary to the claims of the prosecution (if in
fact this is the position of the prosecution), you were actually using
care NOT to cause damage or harm anyone and the proof to that fact is
that no one was hurt, only minor damage was inflicted, and you had, at
your disposal the means to do much greater harm if in fact that bad
been your intent. Clearly it was not.

As for your mental state at the time, it may be defendable that you
were in such a state of anxiety that you were not responsible for your
actions (in essence a temporary insanity plea), but to claim that you
should not be held accountable simply because you had ?had enough? is,
in my unlicensed opinion, a very unwise position to take.

Again, none of this is considered legal advice and nothing here is
intended to take the place of adequate legal representation. This is
merely my opinion (as you solicited) based on my years of experience
and the research conducted and the sole intent is to arm you with
information to take to your counsel for consideration should you
retain an attorney to represent you  - and I highly recommend that you

I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;

Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher



Defined above



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Request for Answer Clarification by argusfl-ga on 16 Jun 2006 18:17 PDT
Thank you for your answer. When you say that Florida?s statutes do not
permit the use of force in response to a misdemeanor; if the statutes
permit the use of force in response to a felony? Thank you

Request for Answer Clarification by argusfl-ga on 16 Jun 2006 18:23 PDT
Please note that A bumps B right in front a police officer and right
next the police station and A bumps B after numerous attempts to call
attention of the harrasment from two law enforcement jurisdictions.
Please comment further on mens rea.

Clarification of Answer by tutuzdad-ga on 16 Jun 2006 19:14 PDT
I recommend you read this chapter in it's entirety. It isn't that long
and it isn't very complicated legal jargon.

Title XLVI

The Use Of Force statutes can be summarized this way:

"A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is
attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no
duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet
force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably
believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily
harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of
a forcible felony."

I don't believe you will not find a valid defense in the use of Force
statutes unless a felony existed wherein you were in fear of your life
or of grievous bodily harm. The law states that the presumption that
force is justified set forth in these statutes does *NOT* apply if:

"The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to
be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle,
such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an
injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial
supervision order of no contact against that person...">2005->Ch0776->Section%20013#0776.013

As I alluded to earlier, if the crime does not meet the criteria of a
felony or attempted felony that left you in fear of your life or great
bodily harm you will, in my opinion, need to start looking for your
defense elsewhere.

I look forward to your final rating and comments on my research.


Request for Answer Clarification by argusfl-ga on 19 Jun 2006 05:37 PDT
Thank you for your response. However, I need your input based on these
added facts: A bumps B right in front a police officer and right
next the police station with the intent of positively identifying B. A
has, in numerous occasions reported the harassment to two law
enforcement jurisdictions to no avail. B is a member of the
conspiratory ring and was dispatched by this criminal ring to
intimidate and harass A. The intimidation campaign has been going on
for almost two years now and continues as we speak. A's life has been
even threatened (with gory details as to manner and means of execution
of threat[please, pardon the pun]) by B's employer, if A does not stop
certain investigating activities she is involved in. B's bosses and
associates continue to intimidate A to this day (as we speak). Would
this intimidation and continued harasssment and stalking by B be
considered a felony in FL?
Also, if you would, please comment further on mens rea; vis-a-vis A. A
wants this criminal activity to stop.
I thank you in advance for your take in this most interesting and bizarre situation.

Clarification of Answer by tutuzdad-ga on 29 Jun 2006 08:34 PDT
Please allow some additional time. I am just returning from vacation
and I am trying to get caught up. I'll get back to you as soon as


Clarification of Answer by tutuzdad-ga on 29 Jun 2006 12:24 PDT
I believe the additional questions and clarification you have
requested are best answered by an attorney and would, in my
estimation, be a breach of policy for me to attempt to apply
variations of the law to vague or hypothetical situations. I can't
give advice and can only show you what the published law indicates and
suggest to you how it "might" be applied in some standard scenarios.
To try and apply the law to other complex situations beyond what you
asked about in your original question would be unfair to both of us.

There are no comments at this time.

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