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West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Violent Crimes / Woman Burned In Apparent Random Attack

Woman Burned In Apparent Random Attack


A woman unloading boxes on the street in West Palm Beach during work was injured when another woman threw hot water at her, perpetrating an allegedly random attack. The injured woman suffered first and second-degree burns on her back, and the perpetrator, Andrea Clarke, a Jamaican national, was taken into custody and charged with one count of aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability. Random attacks are rare, but if you have been charged with battery or aggravated battery, you need to take the charge very seriously.

Two Causes Of Action

Most people tend to put assault and battery together, but in reality, they are two separate causes of action under Florida law. Assault is when a person makes a threat to cause harm to another person, and that person reasonably believes that they are capable of carrying out that threat. Battery is the actual intentional touching or causing bodily harm to another person. They may go together, but they do not have to – in Ms. Clarke’s case, no assault seems to have taken place because no threats were made, but she was charged with battery because she actually caused bodily harm to the woman who was doing her job.

It is important to keep in mind that at least for misdemeanor battery, there is no requirement that the person be injured; unwanted touching is the only criteria to establish that battery has taken place. Ms. Clarke was charged with aggravated battery, which means that her alleged battery had special circumstances – in her case, it being a random attack would have pushed a misdemeanor or ‘standard’ battery case into an aggravated battery, which bumps up the potential sentence one level – say, from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony.

Possible Defenses

While Ms. Clarke does not appear to have any defenses readily available for her actions – she stated that “her head told her to do it” – there are defenses that may be available in your battery case, depending on the specific situation. Self-defense can be argued if you can show that you had a reasonable fear of bodily harm, though the force used has to be non-lethal. Florida law does not allow the use of lethal force against an aggressor unless the aggressor is using deadly force themselves.

Another possible defense is a lack of intent, as battery must involve intentional touching. If you accidentally strike someone, the conduct generally does not rise to the level of battery, because accident and intentional action are obviously two different things. It is also possible that a person would attempt to argue that they were not of sound mind when committing a crime, like Ms. Clarke’s “head telling [her] to do it,” but this defense is very rarely mounted and is successful even more rarely.

Can A West Palm Beach Battery Attorney Help You?

If you intend to harm another person, you may face some serious jail time, but all is not lost. The West Palm Beach violent crimes attorneys at Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. will help protect your rights and try to reach an outcome that is appropriate for your specific situation. Call our offices today to schedule a consultation.



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