Jacksonville police have opened an investigation into a Jacksonville man accused of throwing a cup of liquid at another car during an apparent argument. This is probably something that happens daily on roads across Jacksonville, but there’s one reason this one has bubbled up to earn media attention: It was caught on video. A woman who said she honked at the driver she said sped through a school zone pulled out her phone to capture what she said was aggressive behavior, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. No charges have been filed, but police said they are investigating a police criminal mischief charge.
Criminal mischief is essentially vandalism, and the crime would be throwing the drink at the woman’s vehicle. Since the value of the damage is likely less than $200, the charge would be a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in county jail. If the value is between $201 and $1,000, the charge would be a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail. If the value was more than $1,000, criminal mischief is then elevated to a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. This is highly unlikely in this Jacksonville Road Rage Case because prosecutors told the newspaper the case was being investigated as a misdemeanor.
None of the actual root causes of the argument are part of the charges, including running a red light and speeding in a school zone. In these Jacksonville Traffic Cases, the alleged acts would have to be observed by a police officer for any charges to be filed. The only exception in traffic cases are red light cameras cases, though those are also subject to their own legal questioning. The woman also accused the van driver of threatening her, but that part of the incident was not caught on video. The only potentially criminal piece that was filmed was the throwing of the drink. Even that piece of this Jacksonville Misdemeanor Case could be pretty thin if it was brought before a jury of the driver’s peers. The case will eventually become a case of “he said, she said.” If the woman thought far enough in advance to film the man from her cell phone while driving, did she do anything before the filming that might have instigated or escalated the incident? And by following the man to his home, did she continue the incident and then herself become the aggressor? The video makes for good footage for the evening news, but isn’t as solid when it comes to proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney represents people accused of all types of crimes, including traffic cases, misdemeanors and felonies.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Criminal Mischief Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.