Facts to Know About Federal Assault Crimes

Federal assault crimes are serious offenses that may require help from the best federal criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg. Creating an effective defense requires knowledge about federal criminal laws and experience working on similar cases. With the hefty prison sentences that accompany many federal crimes, it is critical to find the right defense. In this article, an aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg experienced with federal criminal defense cases highlights some facts about federal assault crimes that are worth knowing. 

Does Not Need to be Successful

An assault does not need to be successful in order for an individual to face charges for it. For instance, attempting to assault a federal employee is a crime. The intent matters, regardless of the outcome. If you take the action to assault someone, but they defend themselves by fighting back, you could still face federal assault charges.

Where The Crime Took Place

Many crimes fall under the federal designation simply because of where the incident took place. Criminal activity at national parks or monuments is automatically a federal crime because it took place on federal property. Even minor crimes can become more serious depending on the location.

Assault With Intent to Commit Murder

Assault with intent to commit murder is a violent felony charge with tougher sentencing guidelines at the federal level. It can be used in cases where the force intended to be used would have likely resulted in death. In order for a defendant to be convicted of assault with intent to commit murder, prosecutors must prove that the defendant attempted to harm and murder the victim and that the victim feared for their own safety. Call the best aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg to discuss your case.

Assault With a Deadly Weapon

There are laws against assault with a deadly weapon at both federal and state levels. To be considered a federal crime, the incident has to take place on federal property, or against a federal employee. On a federal level, assault with a deadly weapon charge can include a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Crimes Against Government Employees

Crimes against government employees are federal, whether the employee was working in an official capacity or not. This can include contract census takers, employees of the United States Postal Service, or staff members at the Social Security Administration’s local office. Any attempt to assault or hurt these individuals constitutes a federal assault crime.

Possible Defenses for Assault

There are several possible defense strategies for an assault charge. Your lawyer will closely assess the facts surrounding your case and help you build a strong defense strategy, including:  

Self-Defense and Defense of Others

Self-defense is the most common defense for assault. To make a self-defense claim, you must have used reasonable force while under attack. This same defense statute applies to defendants who acted to protect others. You must be able to prove that you used reasonable force and were in imminent danger.


It is possible to create a defense around making a mistake about a core part of the case that changes the outcome. For example, thinking an attacker has a weapon when he or she is holding a cell phone may result in a mistake defense. However, mistake defenses are hard to use, which is why this strategy is rarely employed.


The entrapment defense is used under limited circumstances because of how it works. The defense centers on the argument that an authority figure convinced the defendant to commit the crime. It is most often used when the defendant was influenced by police or undercover agents. 


The duress defense can be used for anyone who is forced into committing a crime. In this case, the defendant must have proof of a credible threat or inciting factor that led them to believe that they were in danger. 

Steep Penalties

If a crime has a federal designation, it often has steeper penalties than if the charges were from the local level. Some federal crimes carry 25-year prison sentences, whereas others carry 10-year maximum prison terms. If the victim of your alleged crime dies or suffers from injuries, you will likely face longer sentences.

If you are facing federal assault charges, securing effective legal counsel is one of the next steps you should take. The early actions used in your case can make a substantial difference in the ultimate outcome. Scheduling an appointment with the best federal criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg will give you an opportunity to review your case and to discuss an effective strategy for your defense.

For a free consultation with an aggravated assault attorney 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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