Aggravated assault in Florida is defined as a threat made against another individual with the use of a weapon considered to be deadly. This threat must be an unlawful one with criminal intent. It is important to note that no physical contact is required to justify an aggravated assault charge. It is only necessary that a threat is made that causes a reasonable fear of imminent harm to the victim. This definition is clearly outlined by Florida statute 784.021.
It is also important to note that deadly weapons not only include guns and knives. This charge can apply to any item that is designed or can be adapted to cause serious physical harm to the victim.
The following elements must be proven to achieve an aggravated assault conviction in the state of Florida:
- An intentional and unlawful threat was made.
- The defendant demonstrated the ability to make good on the threat.
- The victim had a reason to fear that harm to their person would take place.
- The defendant aimed a firearm or other weapon at the victim in a way that suggests a desire to cause harm.
- The defendant formed the conscious intent to harm the victim.
Aggravated assault in Florida is a third-degree felony that carries a maximum of five years imprisonment. The conviction can also result in a five-year probated sentence. A $5,000 fine can also be assessed when convicted of aggravated assault in Florida.
When the victim of the aggravated assault is a firefighter, law enforcement officer, or emergency medical technician, the crime is enhanced to a second-degree felony. The defendant then must be sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison if convicted.
Individuals facing aggravated assault charges should also understand that a guilty plea or conviction will eliminate future options to have the records of court records sealed. The convicted person will possess thereafter a permanent record as a violent convicted felon.
Defenses To Aggravated Assault Charges
In addition to the normal opportunities for in court and pre-trial defense afforded to all individuals accused of crimes in the state of Florida, there are special defenses available to individuals accused of aggravated assault.
Idle Threats – An idle threat made by an individual that is not joined to an action that supports a belief that the individual will make good on the threat, is not sufficient to warrant an aggravated assault charge.
- Conditional Threats – A threat of violence with no specified date or time that is attached to a possible event is not sufficient to warrant an aggravated assault charge.
- Unreasonable Fear – When an accuser is found to have taunted the accused to elicit a threat that was originally not believed to be credible, a later claim of aggravated assault is not allowable.
Aggravated assault crimes are serious issues in the state of Florida. A conviction for aggravated assault can cause real and permanent consequences to the life of the accused The consequences can include a lengthy prison term.
William Hanlon and the Hanlon Law Firm provides quality representation to individuals in the Tampa, Florida area facing aggravated assault and other violent felony charges. Minimum mandatory sentences often apply to these charges and it is important to secure the best representation possible when facing such serious legal consequences.
Individuals in the Tampa area in need of defense for aggravated assault charges can contact William Hanlon criminal lawyer in Tampa. If you or someone close to you needs assistance with defending themselves against this or other serious criminal charges call the Hanlon Law Firm at 813-228-7095.