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Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Florida



Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Florida: Definition and Laws

In Florida, the term “missile” encompasses more than just military-grade projectiles. According to Florida Statute § 790.19, a missile can be any hard object capable of causing death or serious injury. This includes rocks, bullets, glass bottles, and even large fruits. The law prohibits shooting a gun or throwing such objects at buildings, vehicles, boats, or aircraft. To secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the act was done wantonly or maliciously, meaning it was intentional and with knowledge of potential harm.

What is the definition of Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Florida? Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Florida refers to the act of shooting a gun or throwing a hard object at buildings, vehicles, boats, or aircraft, with the potential to cause serious injury or death.

Elements of the Crime

To convict someone of shooting or throwing missiles in Florida, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Action: The defendant either shot a gun or threw a hard object.
  • Target: The target was a building, vehicle, boat, or aircraft.
  • Intent: The act was done wantonly or maliciously.

Understanding these elements is crucial because it helps define the scope and seriousness of the crime. For example, the action can be as varied as firing a gun or throwing a glass bottle. The target can be anything from an occupied vehicle to a moving boat. The intent must be proven to be wanton or malicious, signifying an intentional act with a disregard for human life.

When people first read this statute, they may be confused by the term “missile.” Military missiles come to mind, but the law covers a broader range of objects. For instance, rocks, pieces of wood, and even large fruits like grapefruits have been prosecuted under this statute. The law aims to prevent actions that could potentially cause significant harm or death, regardless of the object used.

In West Palm Beach, prosecutors have prosecuted many individuals for breaking this law. They often look at whether the thrown object could cause death or bodily harm rather than if it would. This high standard requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the missile could have caused significant harm. For example, one Florida court ruled that a grapefruit, which smashed a driver’s window and caused injuries, was a deadly missile. Conversely, an orange was not considered deadly in another case because it lacked the necessary force and circumstances to cause serious harm.

It’s also important to note that this crime does not include unoccupied vehicles but does include unoccupied buildings. This law can be applied in various situations, such as drive-by shootings or incidents involving firearms and occupied structures or vehicles. The prosecution must prove that the defendant’s actions were intentional and with knowledge that someone could get injured or killed.

Understanding the intricacies of this law is essential for anyone facing such charges. At Leppard Law, our experienced Orlando Gun Crime Lawyers are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal defense. If you or a loved one is facing charges related to shooting or throwing missiles, contact us immediately to explore your legal options and protect your rights.

Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Florida

For more information on related offenses, visit our page on improper exhibition of a firearm or learn about the penalties for discharging a firearm in public. Our team at Leppard Law is here to support you through every step of your legal journey.

Penalties for Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Florida

Shooting or throwing missiles is a serious offense in Florida, classified as a second-degree felony. Under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code, this crime is ranked as a Level 6 offense. The penalties for a conviction can be severe, including:

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Probation and community service

These penalties underscore the importance of understanding the gravity of this crime and the need for a robust legal defense if charged.

Factors Influencing Penalties

The severity of the penalties can be influenced by various factors, including the nature of the object thrown, the target, and whether any injuries occurred. For instance, throwing a frozen orange at a fast-moving vehicle could result in harsher penalties compared to throwing a small rock at an unoccupied building.

What are the penalties for shooting or throwing missiles in Florida? Shooting or throwing missiles in Florida is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, fines up to $10,000, probation, and community service.

When considering the penalties, it’s crucial to understand that the specific circumstances of the case play a significant role. For example, if the missile caused bodily harm, the penalties could be more severe. Additionally, the intent behind the act is scrutinized. If the act was done wantonly or maliciously, the likelihood of facing the maximum penalties increases.

In West Palm Beach, prosecutors often take a hard stance on these cases. They meticulously examine the details to determine the potential harm caused by the missile. The definition of a missile is broad, encompassing objects like rocks, bullets, glass bottles, and even large fruits. This broad definition means that many seemingly innocuous objects can lead to severe charges if used with malicious intent.

Penalties for Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Florida

For instance, consider a scenario where someone throws a large rock at an occupied vehicle. If the rock shatters the windshield and causes the driver to lose control, the resulting injuries and potential fatalities could lead to maximum penalties. Similarly, firing a gun at an occupied building can result in severe legal consequences, especially if the bullet injures or kills someone inside.

It’s also important to note that the law covers various targets, including buildings, vehicles, boats, and aircraft. Each target type brings its own set of considerations. For example, throwing an object at a moving boat can be particularly dangerous due to the potential for causing the boat to capsize or injure passengers. Similarly, firing a gun at an aircraft can have catastrophic consequences, leading to severe penalties.

Given the severity of the penalties and the complexity of the cases, it’s essential to have a skilled Orlando Gun Crime Lawyer on your side. At Leppard Law, our experienced attorneys understand the intricacies of these cases and are dedicated to providing a robust defense for our clients.

One key aspect of the defense is challenging the prosecution’s evidence. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions were wanton or malicious and that the missile could cause death or serious injury. This high standard of proof means that a skilled defense attorney can often find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, potentially leading to reduced charges or even dismissal.

Additionally, the financial burden of fines, legal fees, and other costs can be overwhelming. A conviction can also have long-term consequences, including a permanent criminal record, difficulty finding employment, and loss of certain civil rights. This underscores the importance of securing experienced legal representation to navigate the complexities of the case and work towards the best possible outcome.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for shooting or throwing missiles, don’t hesitate to contact Leppard Law. Our team of dedicated weapons offenses lawyers is here to help. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Call us today at 407-476-4111 or visit our Contact page to schedule an appointment.

For more information on related offenses, visit our pages on improper exhibition of a firearm and discharging a firearm in public. Our team at Leppard Law is committed to providing the support and legal expertise you need during this challenging time.

Examples of Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Florida

Understanding what constitutes shooting or throwing missiles in Florida can be complex. To illustrate, let’s explore some hypothetical scenarios that fall under Florida Statute § 790.19:

  • Rock Through a Windshield: Imagine a person throws a large rock at a moving car, shattering the windshield and causing the driver to lose control. This act could easily result in serious injuries or even fatalities.
  • Gunfire at a Building: An individual fires a gun at an occupied building, breaking a window and endangering the occupants inside. The intent and potential for harm make this a clear example of a missile-related offense.
  • Glass Bottle at a Boat: Someone hurls a glass bottle at a boat in the water, causing significant damage to the vessel. If the boat is occupied, the potential for injury or death is high.

These examples demonstrate the broad range of actions that can be prosecuted under this statute. The law is not limited to traditional projectiles; it includes any hard object capable of causing death or serious injury. For instance, cases have involved objects like bullets, rocks, glass bottles, and even large fruits.

What is a missile under Florida law? A missile is any hard object capable of causing death or serious injury, including rocks, bullets, glass bottles, and large fruits.

In West Palm Beach, prosecutors frequently handle cases involving such scenarios. They often ask whether the object “could” cause death or serious injury, rather than “would” it, which sets a high bar for prosecution. For example, a frozen orange thrown at a fast-moving vehicle could be considered a deadly missile, whereas a regular orange might not meet this criterion.

Consider another scenario where someone throws a bicycle at an occupied vehicle. The sheer size and weight of the bicycle could result in devastating consequences, leading to severe penalties. Similarly, firing a gun in public can be prosecuted under this statute if the bullet hits an occupied building, vehicle, or even a boat.

In one notable case, a grapefruit thrown at a tanker truck shattered the driver’s window, causing cuts and potential loss of control. This was prosecuted as a deadly missile due to the significant harm caused. Another case involved a 12-ounce soda bottle thrown at a range of 15 yards, which was also considered a deadly missile due to the force and distance involved.

It’s important to note that the law also covers unoccupied buildings but not unoccupied vehicles. This distinction means that someone throwing a hard object at an empty building could still face charges under this statute. Furthermore, the intent behind the act is crucial. The prosecution must prove that the act was done wantonly or maliciously, meaning it was intentional and with knowledge of the potential harm.

For example, if someone accidentally throws an object that hits a building, it may not meet the criteria for wanton or malicious intent. However, if the act was done with the intention to cause harm, the charges are more likely to stick. This intent requirement is a critical element that a skilled Orlando weapons defense attorney can challenge in court.

Another important aspect is the type of object used. The law is broad enough to include unconventional items like large computer monitors, doughnut-shaped sprinkler protectors, and even car rims. In each case, the object’s potential to cause death or great bodily harm is the key factor in prosecution.

The consequences of a conviction can be severe, including up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. Given these harsh penalties, it’s essential to have experienced legal representation. At Leppard Law, our Orlando firearm lawyers are well-versed in the intricacies of these cases and can provide the robust defense you need.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for shooting or throwing missiles, don’t hesitate to contact Leppard Law. Our dedicated team of weapons defense attorneys is here to help. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Call us today at 407-476-4111 or visit our Contact page to schedule an appointment.


Defenses Against Shooting or Throwing Missiles Charges

If you are charged with shooting or throwing missiles in Florida, several defenses may be available to you. Common defenses include:

  • Lack of Intent: Demonstrating that the act was accidental and not done wantonly or maliciously.
  • Self-Defense: Arguing that the action was taken in self-defense or defense of others.
  • Insufficient Evidence: Challenging the prosecution’s evidence to create reasonable doubt.

Each case is unique, and the best defense strategy will depend on the specific circumstances. Consulting with an experienced weapons defense attorney is crucial for navigating these complex legal challenges.

Given the severe penalties associated with this crime, securing skilled legal representation is essential. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights, explore all possible defenses, and work towards the best possible outcome in your case.

One of the most effective defenses is challenging the intent behind the act. For example, if you were accused of throwing a missile but did not intend to harm anyone, your attorney can argue that the act was neither wanton nor malicious. This distinction is crucial because Florida law requires the prosecution to prove that the act was intentional and carried out with the knowledge that it could cause harm.

Criminal Law Gavel and Scales

Another potential defense is self-defense. If you can demonstrate that you were protecting yourself or others from an imminent threat, you may be able to justify your actions. This defense is particularly compelling if there is evidence supporting your claim, such as witness testimony or video footage.

Additionally, an attorney can scrutinize the evidence presented by the prosecution. By identifying inconsistencies or weaknesses in the evidence, your lawyer can create reasonable doubt about your guilt. This can include questioning the reliability of witness statements, the accuracy of forensic evidence, or the procedures followed by law enforcement during the investigation.

What is the importance of legal representation in shooting or throwing missiles cases? Securing skilled legal representation is essential for understanding your rights, exploring all possible defenses, and achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

It’s also worth noting that the context of the incident can significantly impact the defense strategy. For instance, if the object thrown was not inherently dangerous, your attorney might argue that it does not meet the criteria for a missile under Florida law. This could be a critical point in cases involving objects like small rocks or plastic bottles.

Moreover, an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal complexities of such cases. For example, they can guide you through the intricacies of Florida’s weapon laws and ensure that all procedural requirements are met. This can be particularly important in cases where the prosecution is relying on technical aspects of the law to secure a conviction.

At Leppard Law, we understand the gravity of these charges and are committed to providing the best defense possible. Our team of seasoned attorneys has extensive experience handling weapons-related offenses and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and interests.

Don’t leave your future to chance. If you or a loved one has been charged with shooting or throwing missiles, contact us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation. Let us put our expertise to work for you and help you navigate this challenging situation with confidence.

Remember, the sooner you seek legal advice, the better your chances of achieving a favorable outcome. Don’t wait—call us today and take the first step towards protecting your future.

For more information on related topics, you can explore our pages on possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and discharge of a firearm in public. Understanding the broader context of Florida’s weapon laws can provide valuable insights into your case and help you make informed decisions.

At Leppard Law, we are dedicated to providing compassionate and effective legal representation. Trust us to be your advocate in these challenging times. Contact us now at 407-476-4111 or visit our contact page to get started.


Infographic depicting the words Shooting or Throwing Missiles in Florida

What are the penalties for shooting or throwing missiles in Florida?

The penalties for shooting or throwing missiles in Florida are severe and can include:

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Probation and community service

These penalties highlight the seriousness of the offense and the need for a strong legal defense.

What constitutes a “missile” under Florida law?

Under Florida law, a “missile” is defined as any hard object capable of causing death or serious injury. This includes:

  • Rocks
  • Bullets
  • Glass bottles
  • Large fruits
  • Other similar objects

The term is broader than just military-grade projectiles and includes everyday items that can cause harm.

What must the prosecution prove to convict someone of shooting or throwing missiles?

To convict someone of shooting or throwing missiles in Florida, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  • Shot a gun or threw a hard object
  • Aimed at a building, vehicle, boat, or aircraft
  • Acted wantonly or maliciously

The intent and the potential for harm are critical elements that the prosecution must establish.

What are common defenses against shooting or throwing missiles charges?

Common defenses against shooting or throwing missiles charges in Florida include:

  • Lack of Intent: Proving the act was accidental and not done wantonly or maliciously.
  • Self-Defense: Demonstrating that the action was taken in self-defense or defense of others.
  • Insufficient Evidence: Challenging the evidence to create reasonable doubt.

Each case is unique, and the best defense strategy will depend on the specific circumstances.

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Top-Rated Weapons Lawyers Serving Florida

Looking for the best Weapons lawyers in Florida? Our distinguished team of attorneys is committed to offering you the best possible defense against your Weapons charges.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
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