When Does Ramming Another Car Constitute the Crime of Aggravated Battery?

          In many cases in which an individual is charged with committing the crime of aggravated battery, the weapon that is used is a knife or a gun.  However, it is also possible to commit aggravated battery using a car.

          In the case of Rosa v. State of Florida, the Third District Court of Appeal stated that in order to convict someone of aggravated battery who rams his vehicle into another vehicle, the prosecutor must first prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the occupants of the rammed vehicle were jostled, injured, had to brace themselves for protection against the impending impact, or were moved about within the vehicle during the crash.

          In the Rosa case, police were led on a high-speed chase following a reported armed robbery.  The car that the police were chasing ultimately crashed against both a guardrail and a patrol car.  The officer driving the rammed patrol car was unbuckling his seat belt when he saw the getaway car traveling in reverse.  The resulting impact damaged the bumper of the patrol car, cracked a turn-signal light, and caused a strobe light to fall off the dashboard.  The impact also caused the door of the patrol car to strike another officer which resulted in that officer's arm and shin area being injured.

          The court of appeals concluded that because no evidence was presented that the officer inside the damaged patrol car was jostled, injured, moved, or had to brace himself in order to protect himself against the impact of the getaway vehicle, the driver of the getaway vehicle was not guilty of aggravated battery.

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