Shooting or Throwing a Deadly Missile

Clearwater Criminal Lawyers Defending The Accused

One of the most famous sayings is “you should not judge a book by it’s cover.” The saying rings true, as it is impossible to know the substance or body of a book just by looking at the front cover and reading the title. The same is true for criminal laws. Criminal laws often have titles that are scary and bring to mind serious violent offenses. You picture in your mind’s eye a crime that you would never commit. However, when you actually take the time to read the body of a criminal law, you will often discover that the criminal conduct described is sometimes very tame and might include things that you yourself have done.

One of those criminal laws is for shooting or throwing a deadly missile. The full title of the statute is “Shooting into or throwing deadly missiles into dwellings, public or private buildings, occupied or not occupied; vessels, aircraft, buses, railroad cars, streetcars, or other vehicles.” Such a title calls to mind a violent drive-by shooting of a home, or even firing a missile at an airplane flying above. Acts like those are certainly prohibited by the law, but a deep dive into the offense will reveal that much more innocent conduct may also be punished. If you find yourself charged with this crime, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced Clearwater Criminal defense lawyer to build your defense.

Elements of the Crime

In order to prove someone guilty of throwing a deadly missile, the prosecution must prove that you “wantonly or maliciously” shot at or threw a missile at a building or an occupied vehicle. If you targeted a building, it doesn’t matter whether anyone was inside or it was abandoned. You can still be charged and convicted of the offense. If you targeted a vehicle, the prosecution must also prove that the vehicle was occupied by another human being. You cannot be convicted of throwing a deadly missile at an empty car for example.

The prosecution is also required to prove that the “missile” was deadly. When we use the word missile, the first thing that comes to mind is a rocket fired from a military plane or launched from a silo. In reality, the legal definition is far broader. The statute defines a deadly missile as “any stone or other hard substance which would produce death or great bodily harm.” This definition leaves a great deal of room for imagination and many objects that we might not necessarily consider a “missile or weapon” can fall under this broad definition. Because of the vagueness involved in the statute, you need to consult with an experienced Clearwater criminal defense lawyer who can analyze the facts of your case and build a strong defense.

Because a deadly missile is not specifically defined in the words of the statute, police, prosecutors and judges are given free reign to define it any way they want. Courts have found that items like soda or beer bottles, BBs from BB guns, and even fruits can be considered “deadly missiles” under the statute. Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of by the criminal justice system. Such vague and confusing statutes are designed to allow law enforcement to easily charge people with crimes with little or weak evidence. Talk to a lawyer to preserve your rights and ensure the best outcome.

Shooting or throwing a deadly missile is a second degree felony. Such a crime is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison or probation. If you are found guilty of a second degree felony, you will often be convicted, resulting in a permanent record and the loss of many constitutional rights. You need a competent Clearwater criminal defense lawyer to represent you, and you should speak to one right away.

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The lawyers at Hanlon Law are available to speak to you about your case right now. Call us today for a consultation at (727) 897-5413.