Jacksonville Assault Lawyer
What is Assault in Florida?
Assault, typically paired with the crime of battery, is a criminal offense that involves threatening another individual or individuals. In an altercation between two or more people, the crime of “assault” refers to a (1) physical or verbal threat that can be reasonably carried out which (2) causes a person to fear for their immediate safety. By definition, the offense does not include physical contact. This means that if one person throws a punch aimed at another but missed, the aggressor may face assault charges. For clarification, if physical contact does occur, the crime can be charged as “battery”. An assault becomes “aggravated” when during the course of an offense, an aggressor makes use of a deadly weapon or intends to commit a felony.
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Assault can be committed as a crime in and of itself but is also frequently accompanied by other crimes or aggravating factors such as the presence of a deadly weapon or assault with battery. The penalties and the charges will differ drastically depending on the unique factors present in each case. If you were arrested and are now facing assault charges, speak with a Jacksonville assault attorney from our firm immediately.
Work with our dedicated and experienced Jacksonville assault attorney today to fight for your rights! Contact us today at (904) 701-0591!
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Assault with a deadly weapon is considered aggravated assault. There are a few different types of aggravated assault recognized in Florida. A deadly weapon could be considered a gun, a knife or other types of objects used for the purpose of causing harm such as brass knuckles or explosives. Even unloaded guns can be considered deadly weapons. Under Florida law, any item which is capable of inflicting great bodily harm and is used in a way which causes a person to fear for their immediate safety may be classified as a deadly weapon. In this way, a heavy or steel toe boot that was swung at someone’s head may lead to charges of aggravated assault.
According to 784.021 of the Florida Statutes, aggravated assault is defined as "an assault:
a) with a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or
b) with intent to commit a felony."
Aggravated assault with the intent to commit a felony is considered a third-degree felony. As you can see, aggravated assault raises the charges from a second-degree misdemeanor up to a felony offense of the third degree.
Penalties for Assault: Misdemeanors & Felonies
Simple assault when charged as a second-degree misdemeanor is punishable as provided by 7775.082 or 775.083 of the Florida Statutes.
The penalties for second-degree misdemeanor assault are:
- Maximum imprisonment of 60 days.
- Maximum fine for simple assault is $500.
The penalties for a third-degree felony, according to the Florida Statutes, are:
- Maximum imprisonment of five years.
- Fines up to $5,000.
- The potential to be considered as a habitual felony offender.
If the aggravated assault was committed and the defendant had prior felonies on their record, then they may be sentenced to ten years in prison according to Florida Statute 775.084.
If you are facing an assault charge, you need criminal defense representation no matter what your circumstances. You may have prior offenses, you may have been charged with aggravated assault or you may have no prior experience with the criminal justice system. Call our experienced Jacksonville assault attorneys today.
Proving Self-Defense in Florida Assault Cases
For self-defense to be just that and not its own form of assault or battery, four requirements must be met during the altercation:
- Defender was legitimately threatened with unlawful harm by another.
- Attacker’s behavior was convincing enough to cause the defender to reasonably believe they were in danger.
- Defender did not attempt to provoke the attacker in any way.
- Defender did not have a safe opportunity to flee, retreat, or escape.
If all four of these conditions are met, the defender can use force or violence in return to protect themselves, to an extent. Self-defense claims must be “proportional” to the perceived or real threat. Force can be used to stop the attack and escape, but it cannot be used to exact revenge or inflict harm to the attacker after the threat has been resolved.
For example: John approaches Matt with his fists raised, an angry scowl on his face, and tells him he is going to attack him. Matt pulls a gun while John is still 100 feet away. At this point, if Matt tells John to stop while also attempting to retreat himself, it would constitute acceptable self-defense and not assault with a deadly weapon. If Matt pulls a gun and immediately fires, killing John before he has a chance to stop his attack, Matt could be charged with murder or manslaughter.
Find out what we can do for you. Contact a Jacksonville assault lawyer today!
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