Aggravated Assault: What Could Be Considered a Deadly Weapon?

Florida law defines aggravated assault as a threat to do violence to another “with a deadly weapon without intent to kill” or “with an intent to commit a felony.” We’ve already covered assault with the intent to commit a felony in a previous article. Below, we discuss what can be considered a “deadly weapon” under Florida law. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t provide an exact definition, and there are a wide variety of items that can lead to an aggravated assault charge. If you have been accused of aggravated assault, it is in your best interest to consult an aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg who can work to have your charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped. 

Florida’s Interpretation of a Deadly Weapon

A “deadly weapon” is a weapon that can be used in a way that is likely to produce death or great bodily harm. As we’ve covered previously, Florida residents must use extreme caution when they fear that a situation could escalate into threats of violence. In these moments, a pocket knife, gun, or speeding car can be considered a deadly weapon — all have the potential to produce death or great bodily harm. However, Florida’s definition of a deadly weapon leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Here are a few unusual items that may lead to an aggravated assault charge in Florida: 

  • Rocks: In 2015, a man in Milton was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in state prison for throwing rocks at the driver of a vehicle. While the man was charged with aggravated battery, the thrown rocks were considered a deadly weapon. 
  • Feminine Products: In 2017, a St. Petersburg woman was charged with aggravated assault after she threw a “wet white paper object” at a police officer, striking him in the shoulder. 
  • Alligators: In what can be described as a defining moment in Florida history, a man in Palm Beach was charged with assault with a deadly weapon in 2016 after he threw a 3 ft. long alligator through a Wendy’s drive-thru window. The offender was taken into custody and later released on bail. 

A Third-Degree Felony No Matter the Weapon 

Being charged with aggravated assault and being convicted of aggravated assault are two different things. Many items that are initially considered a deadly weapon don’t hold up under scrutiny. Despite this, law enforcement officers will happily charge individuals with aggravated assault and judges will regularly hand down convictions for assaults that involve weapons that are clearly not “deadly.” 

Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If you’ve been charged with aggravated assault after threatening someone with an unconventional item, you face the same penalties as an offender who used a gun, knife, or moving vehicle. An experienced attorney could mount an effective defense that includes arguing that the object in question is not a “deadly weapon,” among numerous other strategies. Contact Anthony Rickman, the best aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg, and take the first steps towards having your charges dropped, reduced, or dismissed. 

For a free consultation with an aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

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. 

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