Assault and Battery by Car
Tony asked: See:
(You may need to copy the link and paste it in your browser)
It is reported that a motorist ran his car into a group of cyclists three times. Then, he is reported to have told a doctor attending to the victims and a Lee County Sheriff’s deputy that he understood very clearly what he had done, that he “should have hit them harder,” that he “should have hit all of them.” The motorist was given tickets for careless driving and an expired tag. A Lee County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman is quoted as saying that a criminal charge of reckless driving was not possible: “There was no way to prove he was reckless driving (sic)…He has to have malicious intent.”
My questions are:
1) Is the most serious charge which could be brought against this motorist under Florida law a criminal charge of reckless driving? Is there no crime such as assault with a deadly weapon, with intent to cause bodily harm? Is there no crime such as road rage? Attempted murder? What is it about Florida law that would preclude a more serious criminal charge in this case?
2) Does criminal reckless driving require proving malicious intent? Why are his actions alone (driving into the pack three times) insufficient proof? Why are his statements, multiply-attested by reputable persons including a sheriff’s deputy, insufficient to prove malicious intent. What is it about Florida law that needs to be changed to fix this?
The laws are not the problem. There are numerous criminal and non-criminal charges that can be brought in such cases.
Additionally, this should apply:
s. 784.03 – Battery; Felony Battery
(1)(a) The offense of battery occurs when a person:
1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or
2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.
Note that malicious intent is not required, only intent. That seems easy to prove if the facts are as stated.
I question the will of the police in this case. Perhaps someone should try again and go to the police station and file criminal charges against the person.
Certainly, a civil suit should also be pursued.