You’ll often hear about police chases becoming the subject of personal injury lawsuits. Indeed, police have a responsibility to weigh the benefits of engaging in a high-speed chase over allowing a potentially dangerous individual to remain on the streets. Key areas of concern are the type of damage the suspect can do with their vehicle versus the risk of leaving them out on the streets. In this case, the suspect shot two men. When police finally caught up with him, they found a 15-year-old girl in the car.
The shooting occurred around 10 p.m. Both targets survived the assault. Jonathan Deleon Austin has been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, child neglect, fleeing police, resisting arrest, and causing property damage while fleeing the scene of an accident. The Chevy Tahoe with the suspect was seen driving on the wrong side of the road at speeds approaching 120 mph until the vehicle was eventually disabled by operator error.
Analyzing the Facts
Here are some facts that we can count on being true:
- Suspect shot at two men wounding them
- Suspect resisted attempts to be brought in for questioning
- Suspect engaged in high-speed chase to avoid capture
We don’t know why the man shot at the other two men. But at this point, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher as to why the defendant has not been charged with attempted murder for discharging his weapon at them. In a lot of cases, ie: whites discharging their weapons in threatening situations, a defendant could raise a stand-your-ground defense. This would for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant did not feel his life was threatened at the time he discharged his weapon. This is a very high fence to cross. Stand-your-ground defenses destroy prosecutions.
On the other hand, even if the defendant did feel that his life was in danger and discharged his weapon lawfully, his reckless disregard for the life of the 15-year-old girl in the vehicle or the lives of others whom he imperiled would become the focus of a different prosecution. Not only can the man be charged each time he struck another vehicle or damaged a person’s property, he can also be charged for the escape. Then you add in violations like reckless driving, and you have, perhaps, a decade worth of charges to proceed on.
But the most severe charge, the charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, still has not been proven by any fact brought forth in the newspaper article. In situations like the one described above, it is typical for the defendant to be charged with attempted murder. But you can still raise a stand-your-ground defense to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a serious crime in the West Palm Beach area, a passionate and experienced advocate can defend you from the charges and negotiate a result that you can live with. Call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about how we can help.