Shooting Into or Throwing a Deadly Missile Into Dwellings
As Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers with over 50 years of combined experience in this field of law, we have handled all types of criminal cases, including cases related to incidents in which an individual has been accused of throwing an object or shooting at, into or within a dwelling, building, vehicle, boat, etc. When defending a client in this type of case, our experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that we are defending our client against charges of a violation of s. 790.19 of the Florida State Statutes, which reads:
“Whoever, wantonly or maliciously, shoots at, within, or into, or throws any missile or hurls or projects a stone or other hard substance which would produce death or great bodily harm, at, within, or in any public or private building, occupied or unoccupied, or public or private bus or any train, locomotive, railway car, caboose, cable railway car, street railway car, monorail car, or vehicle of any kind which is being used or occupied by any person, or any boat, vessel, ship, or barge lying in or plying the waters of this state, or aircraft flying through the airspace of this state shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”
Our criminal defense lawyers know that this subsection, geared at ensuring the public safety, in actuality casts a far-reaching umbrella under which many innocent actions may lie. According to the subsection, if you throw an object at a neighbor’s house, you can be arrested for, charged with, and convicted of a second-degree felony, whether or not the house was occupied. Similarly, let’s say you get fired from your job and, on the way out of the building, out of anger and frustration, you throw your briefcase down an unoccupied hallway; you can be arrested for, charged with and convicted of a second-degree felony.
This law is one that is invoked too frequently and used too carelessly by prosecutors. For a real-life example of this, consider the case of J.W.B. v. State (1982), in which an appeals court had to overturn an original ruling in which a juvenile was convicted of throwing a “deadly missile” at a school bus. The “deadly missile” was actually an orange that didn’t hit the bus or anybody in it. This is a clear example of how the law is far too broad. With definitions that are loosely defined, we see far too many situations in which innocent actions are misinterpreted as violent offenses.
At first glance, the law might not raise any red flags; of course it should be against the law to fire a gun into a building; of course it should be against the law to hurl a cement brick at a home. But unfortunately, because of the wide umbrella created by the verbiage within the law, many people who were not acting wantonly or maliciously are subject to harsh and unwarranted punishments. Being convicted of a second-felony, in addition to presenting a penalty including up to 15 years and/or $10,000 in fines, leaves an indelible mark on your public record; this mark can critically damage your future employment prospects, social interactions, etc.
Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers have handled thousands of criminal cases just like yours; as such, we know how to successfully defend you. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with a violation of s. 790.19 in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help you. You can reach us by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363).