Unfortunately, when tensions are high as they are during the coronavirus pandemic, cases of domestic disputes and domestic violence are on the rise. In fact, according to recent research, instances of domestic violence have increased by as much as 33% in some areas where stay at home orders have been in effect. Before Covid, the National Statistics Domestic Violence Fact Sheet claims that approximately 20 people are “physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States” every minute.
These altercations can start mild and quickly turn violent and may result in accusations or charges of aggravated assault. In this article, an aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm shares what you need to know and need to do if a domestic dispute becomes an aggravated assault.
If one partner threatens to commit an act of violence against the other and the threat is found to be credible, or they use a deadly weapon, a spat can turn into a case of aggravated assault.
But what is the definition of an aggravated assault?
As explained under section 784.021 Florida Statutes, aggravated assault is defined as:
(1) An “aggravated assault” is an assault:
(a) With a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or
(b) With an intent to commit a felony.
(2) Whoever commits an aggravated assault shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree
It is important to remember that intent is key. Regardless of whether the defendant actually planned to harm another person, the threat of violence is considered sufficient. In other words, the defendant does not need to make physical contact with another person to be charged with aggravated assault as long as the belief that the defendant intended to seriously harm the person was present during the exchange. For example, if a husband threatens his wife with a gun without actually shooting her, that is an aggravated assault.
Keep in mind that a deadly weapon doesn’t have to be a knife or a gun. In loninger v. State, 846 So. 2d 1192 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), the use of a beer bottle to strike a victim on the head was regarded as the use of a “deadly weapon.”
Aggravated assault is a felony of the third degree with penalties including:
These penalties can increase significantly based on the nature of the crime. For instance, if a firearm was discharged during an act of aggravated assault, the aggressor could face a mandatory prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Domestic disputes which turn violent often happen in the heat of the moment when tensions are high. If you have been charged with aggravated assault during a domestic dispute, you should refrain from speaking with the victim or the police without an attorney present.
To ensure that you are properly defended, contact the best aggravated assault lawyer in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm to handle your case. A free consultation with Anthony Rickman is just a phone call away.
For a free consultation with the best aggravated assault lawyer 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.