Offensive Shirt Leads to Jacksonville Aggravated Assault Charge

An offensive T-shirt led a man to remove it with a knife at a bar recently, First Coast News reports.

Aggravated assault in Jacksonville is punishable as a felony and can pose serious problems for someone if they are convicted. Along with possible prison time, a convicted felon loses key rights, such as being able to vote, hold office, own firearms and can be disqualified from many types of jobs. For those reasons and others, fighting the charges with an aggressive Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney is critical.
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According to the news report, a man was wearing a T-shirt at a bar recently that read “Gathering of the Juggalos 2009,” a reference to an annual music festival. Another man approached and asked if the man was at the festival, though the man wearing the shirt said he wasn’t.

According to police, the man said he wasn’t there and the suspect told him, “You have no right to wear this,” after which he allegedly pulled out a knife to cut the back of the shirt. When the suspect got closer to his neck with the knife, the man grabbed the suspects hands. But he broke free, ripping the shirt and a necklace.

The news report says that witnesses agreed with that side of the story, though the suspect left the bar on Beach Boulevard before officers arrived. But police say he left behind the knife and witnesses described his vehicle, which led to his arrest. The 21-year-old from St. Augustine faces a charge of aggravated assault.

It’s possible that in this case, alcohol was a factor, though in Florida, alcohol use isn’t a defense to a crime. But it could explain the alleged actions of a suspect.

According to Florida Statute 784.021, aggravated assault is defined as an assault with a deadly weapon or while intending to commit a felony. An assault is simply an intentional threat of violence that causes the fear that violence is imminent.

In a criminal trial, the state must prove the elements of the crime, so they must show, in this case, that the suspect intentionally threatened the victim and caused the victim to be fearful that they would face an imminent violent act. The state must also prove a deadly weapon was used.

In this case, based solely on the news report, it appears the deadly weapon element could be met, if witness statements are true. But whether or not an “intentional” threat was done may be up for debate. Prosecutors will have to prove the suspect intentionally committed an act that threatened violence on the victim. It is a great burden that an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Jacksonville will have to challenge every step of the way.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.