When someone is accused of the criminal charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, the deadly weapon can be almost anything. For example, a table, chair, baseball bat, firearm, or even a car or other vehicle can become a deadly weapon if used in a certain manner.
Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon requires intent to commit a battery with the weapon. When an accused strikes an alleged victim with a car or truck, the accused may want to make a defense that there was no intent to hit the victim, or they did not mean to strike the person. In other words it was an accident. In this situation a person can still be guilty or accused of reckless driving which is defined as the operating of a motor vehicle with a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Reckless driving does not require the intent to hit a person or property and reckless driving can be charged when there is no crash, personal injury or property damage. Reckless driving is different than careless driving.
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Recently the Fourth District joined other District Courts and acknowledged that the criminal traffic offense of reckless driving is a permissive lesser included offense of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon when the alleged deadly weapon is an automobile. The Court went on to say “the lesser included offense of reckless driving cannot help but be perpetrated once the greater offense of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon has been committed when the alleged deadly weapon is an automobile”. Furthermore, the Court quoted another District that wrote “aggravated assault by intentionally driving a vehicle in a threatening manner subsumes the elements of reckless driving”. To me, this sounds more like a necessarily included lesser offense, but that legal nuance is for another blog or perhaps a conversation with other lawyers who get excited over legal nuances.
The lesson for lawyers is to ask for the lesser included instruction. The lesson for defendants is that you need a lawyer, so click or call for a free consultation.
Read the opinion cited here.