Florida statutes define aggravated assault as the intent to commit a felony with the use of or intent to use a deadly weapon. The accused must have intentionally and unlawfully threatened to do harm at the time the threat was made, creating a well-founded fear in the mind of the alleged victim, and making harm or intending to make harm with a deadly weapon. Given the severe penalties for an aggravated assault charge, if you have been accused it is urgent to seek representation from an aggravated assault attorney in Tampa.
The intent element required in an aggravated assault prosecution is the intent to threaten violence against the alleged victim. There is also no required showing of actual contact or wounding of the victim. This conscious intent can be present in any number of aggravated assault cases including robbery, rape, murder, and burglary. A commonly misconception of assault is that a victim has to be physically touched for someone to be charged. The criminal offense of aggravated assault focuses on the threat of violence.
What Constitutes as a Deadly Weapon?
According to the Florida Aggravated Assault statute, a “deadly weapon” is a weapon that is used or threatened to be used in a way that is likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
The definition of a deadly weapon is broad. You could be brandishing a pocket knife, using a bottle to strike an alleged victim, or using your vehicle to inflict harm and either could be constituted as aggravated assault in Florida.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault
In Florida, aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, with penalties of up to five years in prison or getting five years probation and a $5,000.00 fine. Prior to July of 2016, if the assault involved the actual possession of a firearm, then the offense also carried with it a three year minimum mandatory prison sentence. Effective on July 1st, 2016, Florida legislatures passed CS/SB 228 to eliminate the minimum mandatory sentences for aggravated assault with a firearm.
Defenses to Aggravated Assault
With the right representation, you can fight this charge. There are a number of arguments that an aggravated assault attorney in Tampa can use on your behalf, including self defense, lack of intent, standing ground, false allegations, and much more.
For a free consultation with an experienced aggravated assault lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm at (813) 370-1185 or submit our contact request form.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.