First Coast News reported that a road rage incident shut down Interstate 295 recently and led to criminal charges for a teenager.
The Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog reported not that long ago of an 18-year-old who allegedly pulled a gun on a driver who yelled at another driver after he was pulled over.
Gun charges in Jacksonville are among the most serious a person can face not only because of the potential for violence that comes with firearms, but also because police and prosecutors can take the use of a firearm in a crime and try to enhance the penalties under the state’s 10-20-Life law. Sometimes, a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney can work to prove a gun wasn’t “used” in a crime, but simply present, which is a possible defense.
Under the 10-20-Life law, a person who commits certain felonies or attempted felonies while using a gun must serve a minimum 10 years in prison. If the firearm is discharged, the minimum sentence jumps to 20 years and if someone is injured or killed, the penalties become 25 years to life.
According to the news report, the Florida Highway Patrol says one vehicle was blocked by another in rush hour traffic and the two vehicles began erratic and aggressive driving. The 19-year-old allegedly told police he was trying to merge from I-95 onto I-295 and attempted to get in front of an SUV.
When the SUV driver began yelling at him, the teen told police he threw a can of air freshener at the SUV, hitting it in the side. The driver of the SUV then allegedly pulled out a gun in a non-threatening manner, telling police he thought the can hitting his vehicle was a gunshot. The driver then said the gun accidentally went off, striking a passenger in the teen’s car in the leg.
The teen allegedly started chasing the SUV, despite pleas from his passenger to go to the hospital. The two vehicles chased each other at speeds up to 80 mph, including several times when the two cars bumped. The teen faces charges of aggravated assault and throwing a deadly missile.
Aggravated assault is defined under Florida Statutes 784.021 and means an assault with a weapon without the intent to kill or with an intent to commit a felony. An assault is simply an unlawful threat that’s intentional and that causes a well-founded fear that violence is imminent. It is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Shooting a deadly missile into a dwelling — in this case a air freshener can — is considered a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. This must be done “maliciously” and “wantonly” shoots at or throws a hard substance that could produce death or great bodily harm.
In this case, its hard to imagine an air freshener can causing great bodily harm or death and if the teen’s account of doing it as a scare tactic is accurate, it’s hard to see this charge sticking. But regardless of what happens in this case, these charges are serious as the 19-year-old currently faces 20 years in prison for allegedly getting into a stupid road rage incident with another driver.
The Forbess Law Firm has been helping clients facing 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 through our website. Or call us at 904-634-0900.
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