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Assault and Aggravated Assault

Assault is a crime in the State of Florida that does not require the defendant to touch the victim. Florida punishes those who are convicted of threatening another person. Assault is defined in Florida Statute 784.011 and a misdemeanor assault is classified as a second degree misdemeanor.

What is Assault

A person is found guilty of assault if the State of Florida is able to prove that (Fla. Jury Instructions 8.1):

  1. The Defendant intentionally and unlawfully threatened either by word or act, to do violence to the alleged victim.
  2. At the time of the threat, the Defendant appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat, and
  3. The Defendant’s act created in the mind of the alleged victim a well-founded fear that violence was about to take place.

Just because you make a threat, but do not actually harm an individual, it can still land you in jail. An assault is a specific intent crime, which means that the person charged with assault intended to threaten the alleged victim. Attorney Matt Thompson defended an individual who was carrying a firearm, shooting the firearm in the air, but did not point the firearm at anyone or threaten anyone specifically by word or act. The police charged this individual with an assault charge for every person who witnessed this individual acting erratically. While this person’s actions were not wise, they did not constitute a valid threat to an on-looker. Matt Thompson was able to get the case reduced to a misdemeanor and the Defendant was sentenced to a short period of probation.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is a crime defined by Florida Statute 784.021. For an aggravated assault to occur, it is not necessary to have touched or even intended to touch the victim. An aggravated assault occurs any time a person threatens another with a deadly weapon, even if the person does not intend to kill or injure the victim.

What is Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated assault is considered a violent crime. You may be more familiar with the lesser crime assault. Assault is intentionally threatening, by word or act, to do violence to another and created well-founded fear in the mind of the victim. Unlike some other crimes, there is no element of intent to cause harm. The crime is the threat. So, even if you never touch or intended to touch the person, you can be arrested for assault. Aggravated assault has all of the same elements as assault, plus the threat must be made with a deadly weapon or with the intent to commit a felony on the victim.

Aggravated Assault – Deadly Weapon

What is a deadly weapon? According to the Florida Jury Instructions, a deadly weapon is a weapon that is “used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm”. You’ll notice that the definition does not say that a deadly weapon is limited to something like a knife or a firearm. A deadly weapon can include a BB gun (Mitchell v. State, 698 So. 2d 555, 1997), or an automobile (Williamson v. State, 92 Fla. 980, 1926).

Aggravated Assault With a Firearm

If someone is charged with making a valid threat to another while in possession of a firearm, the result could be significant prison time. Aggravated Assault with a firearm, under certain circumstances, can result in a minimum mandatory prison sentence. A minimum mandatory prison sentence means that even the Judge cannot sentence you less than the minimum mandatory, the prison time can only become greater.

Aggravated Assault – With Intent to Commit a Felony on the Victim

Even if you do not carry a weapon when the assault is committed, it can be considered an aggravated assault is the State proves that the assault was done with the intent to commit a felony on the victim. For example, threatening another in the course of a robbery, even if you do not have a weapon of any kind, will count as an aggravated assault rather than an assault because a robbery is felony.

What Happens When You’re Convicted of a Felony?

Aggravated assault is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a fine of $5,000. Having a felony conviction on your record can affect your employment opportunities and future success. Having a felony conviction for a violent crime can additionally influence your ability to own a firearm. If you are a student, felony convictions can prevent your admission to colleges, universities, graduate schools, and bar your ability to obtain scholarships and loans. With all of this at stake, hiring an experienced attorney is a must. Matt Thompson has handled hundreds of assault and aggravated assault cases. He brings his experience as a former prosecutor to his defense practice. He knows what evidence the prosecution will use and works tirelessly to weaken the case that the State has against you.

The Thompson Law Approach

Before you pay us a single penny, you will meet face-to-face with attorney Matt Thompson during your case evaluation. We begin every case by meeting with our potential clients and discussing the allegations. Thompson Law firmly believes in taking an individual approach with our clients. No two cases are the same, so we have abandoned the cookie-cutter approach used by other law firms, and instead focus on crafting a defense that is individual for your case. When you hire Matt Thompson, you gain all of his experience, expertise, and honesty. In addition to direct access to your attorney, our team will work with you every step of the way, keeping you informed about the progression of your case. When facing a felony conviction, having an attorney who is accessible and knowledgeable is not just a luxury: it’s a necessity. Call today for your free case evaluation, and let Matt Thompson be that attorney for you.

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