I read an article on the Action News Jacksonville website about a battery that occurred in St. Johns County FL. It reminded me of Jacksonville simple battery cases that I have had in the past. People are often surprised to find out that they do not need to punch, slap, or hit someone with their hand to be charged with battery in Florida. Think of a child that throws an eraser at another classmate. If the eraser hits the other student, this is a battery. The child may be charged with battery as a juvenile delinquent in Jacksonville criminal court. This is true even though the child did not reach out and hit his classmate. What if a wife throws a drink in her husband’s face while in an argument? Technically, this is considered domestic battery in Jacksonville and under Florida law. You do not need to hit or kick someone to be arrested for battery.
A case in St. Johns County serves as a good example to show how a person can be arrested for battery after throwing an item. The item does not need to be a dangerous object. Any object could result in a battery charge depending on the circumstances. Action News reporting that a St. Johns County bus driver and passenger were involved in an altercation. The St. Johns County Police Department “said Joel Parker was riding the bus, and as he was about to get off on A1A, he asked the driver if he wanted a Snickers bar. Police said the driver said no, and that’s when Parker took it and threw it at the drivers head, hitting him…. The report said Parker was threatening the driver, and making a disturbance.” St. Johns County police officers responded and arrested Parker for battery. This event occurred on the Sunshine Bus, so “Parker was also issued a trespass warning and told he wouldn’t be allowed to ride the Sunshine Bus again.”
To understand why Parker was arrested for battery for throwing a Snickers bar, we look to the Florida battery law. This is Section 784.03 of the Florida Statutes, and the law states:
(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.
By throwing the candy bar, Parker allegedly “actually and intentionally” touched the bus driver. Parker may have a defense if he did not act intentionally and if this was an accident. This is something that he will need to discuss with his Jacksonville criminal lawyer.
Another thing that Parker needs to be aware of is the Florida trespassing law. Section 810.08 of the Florida Statutes states:
(1) Whoever, without being authorized, licensed, or invited, willfully enters or remains in any structure or conveyance, or, having been authorized, licensed, or invited, is warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or by a person authorized by the owner or lessee, to depart and refuses to do so, commits the offense of trespass in a structure or conveyance.
(2)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, trespass in a structure or conveyance is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Conveyance is defined in Section 810.11. It defines a conveyance as “any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car.” This would include a bus. According to the news article, Parker was issued a trespass warning in St. Johns County. If he violates the trespass warning, he may be arrested under the Florida trespass law quoted above.