Understanding Aggravated Assault in Florida
Aggravated assault in Florida is a serious offense with severe consequences. It involves the use of a deadly weapon or an intentional assault with the intent to commit a felony. Assault itself is defined as an intentional and unlawful threat by words or actions to perform a violent act upon another person. An aggravated assault is considered a crime of violence and can result in significant penalties, including prison or jail time. Aggravated assault in Florida is characterized by the use of a deadly weapon without the intention to kill the victim or as an assault with the intent to commit a felony. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported over 50,000 aggravated assaults in a single year, highlighting the seriousness of these crimes.
What are Aggravated Assault Charges
Aggravated assault in Florida is an assault where the defendant used a deadly weapon but did not have an intention to kill their victim or is an assault where the defendant intended to commit a felony. Assault comprises one element of the crime and is defined as an intentional and unlawful threat by words or actions to perform a violent act upon the person of another. This threat must be coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and there must be present some act that creates a well-founded fear in another person that the violence is imminent. An aggravated assault will always be considered a crime of violence and can not only result in prison or jail time for an individual charged, but the after effects can haunt an individual for the rest of their life should it go on their record.
Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyer
Recently, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) reported that one year there were over 50,000 aggravated assaults in Florida. These crimes are third degree felonies that carry serious penalties if you are convicted. We all want to be protected from violent criminals, but we also want to protect ourselves from being convicted of violent crimes we didn’t commit. A Tampa aggravated assault lawyer can help you in the instance that this happens.
Finding that balance is always difficult, and it is especially difficult these days, when the very fact that there is so much crime can make some people in law enforcement and the justice system cut corners or rush to charge and convict without carrying out a proper investigation.
What Aggravated Assault Means
An aggravated assault in Tampa is, first of all, an assault. Under Florida law, that requires that there be a threat to commit violence against another person. The threat can consist of an act or mere words, so long as the threat is unlawful and accompanied by:
- The apparent ability to carry it out
- An act that puts the other person in “well-founded” fear of imminent violence
A simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor. For the assault to be “aggravated,” however, bumping the crime to a third-degree felony, the assault has to be committed either:
- Using a deadly weapon but without intending to kill the victim, or
- As part of a felony
Defenses to Aggravated Assault
Various defenses can be employed against aggravated assault charges, and an experienced Tampa defense attorney can review the case to identify factual and legal flaws in the state’s arguments. Facing assault charges in Florida? Understanding legal defenses is crucial. Consent, a viable defense, asserts that the other party willingly participated, like in competitive sports. Self-defense, another strong defense, permits reasonable force to counter an imminent threat. Florida’s stand-your-ground statute might apply, emphasizing your right to self-defense.
Additionally, defending others or protecting your property are valid defenses. It’s crucial to consult a skilled defense attorney to evaluate the specifics of your case. Don’t navigate the legal complexities alone. Our team at [Your Firm’s Name] is here to provide expert guidance. Call us now at (813) 222-2220 to schedule a consultation. Protect your rights; let us be your advocates in the legal process.
Stand Your Ground Defense
Florida’s stand-your-ground statute is a critical component of self-defense laws, providing individuals with the right to protect themselves in certain situations. Enacted in 2005, this law eliminates the duty to retreat before using force and allows individuals to use force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe it’s necessary to prevent death, great bodily harm, or the commission of a forcible felony.
In the context of assault charges, the stand-your-ground statute can be a powerful defense. If you were facing an imminent threat, the law empowers you to stand your ground and defend yourself without the obligation to retreat. This emphasizes the fundamental principle of self-defense, acknowledging an individual’s right to protect themselves and their loved ones in the face of danger.
However, the application of the stand-your-ground statute can be complex, requiring a careful assessment of the circumstances. Seeking legal counsel is crucial to navigate the nuances of this defense and ensure that your rights are protected effectively.
As serious as this kind of allegation is, depending on the classification of the “deadly weapon” element of this crime, a person can face significant sentencing enhancements including minimum mandatory prison terms even if they merely possess a firearm or destructive device pursuant to Florida Statute 775.087. If during an aggravated assault a defendant possessed a firearm or destructive device they will face a 3 year minimum mandatory prison term. If that firearm is discharged, the minimum mandatory prison term rises to 25 years in the Florida Department of Corrections.
If that firearm possessed in the act of an aggravated assault is a semiautomatic firearm the minimum mandatory prison term is 20 years and if that semiautomatic firearm is discharged the minimum mandatory prison term is 25 years. Troubling as it is, the only way to deviate below a mandatory minimum sentence is through the decision of the State Attorney pursuant to Florida Statute 27.366 as sentencing departures under Florida Statute 921.0026 are not available. Similar to many Federal charges, the Judge assigned to your case has no power to deviate below the minimum mandatory. If he does, the sentence will be reversed and the minimum mandatory applied, should the Prosecutor appeal the original sentence.
Stiff Penalties, Enhanced Based on Use of Deadly Weapons
Not all deadly weapons are equal when it comes to aggravated assault. The base penalty for the third-degree felony is up to five years in prison, but enhancements apply for firearms, destructive devices, and other specific circumstances.
Table of Types of Assault Charges in Florida
|Assault (Domestic Violence)
|Assault Victim Over 65 Years Old
|Assault on a Specified Official or Employee
|Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer
|Assault on a Licensed Security Officer
|Assault on an Emergency Medical Care Provider
|Assault on a Public Transit Employee
|Assault on a Firefighter
|Assault by a Detained Person
|Assault on a Code Inspector
|Assault While on the Grounds of a Religious Institution
|Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon
|Aggravated Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony
|Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon While on the Grounds of a Religious Institution
|Aggravated Assault on Law Enforcement Officer with Deadly Weapon
|Aggravated Assault on a Licensed Security Officer with Deadly Weapon
|Aggravated Assault on an Emergency Medical Care Provider with Deadly Weapon
|Aggravated Assault on Firefighter with Deadly Weapon
|Aggravated Assault on a Specified Official or Employee with Deadly Weapon
|Aggravated Assault by a Detained Person
|Aggravated Assault on Code Inspector
|Aggravated Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony While on the Grounds of a Religious Institution
|Aggravated Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony with a Weapon
|Aggravated Assault on Law Enforcement Officer with Intent to Commit a Felony with a Weapon
The Difference Between Assault and Battery in Florida
Although people often use the term “assault” and “battery” interchangeably, each is a separate crime with its own set of penalties. Legal defenses such as consent and self-defense can be applicable, depending on the circumstances.
If you are facing assault charges, consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and explore the best strategies for a strong defense.
Contact us to discuss your case with an attorney over the phone or in the office: (813) 222-2220.
Get in Touch 24/7/365
- 1 Free Consultation
- 2 Available 24/7/365
- 3 We Fight for You!