Legal Defenses For Assault In Tampa, FloridaCriminal Defense
Assault is taken very seriously in the state of Florida. There are many types of assaults, from simple assault to felony aggravated assault. The consequences of a conviction for assault in Florida is severe. It is necessary to have a qualified defense attorney on your side if you are being accused of the crime of assault.
What is an assault?
An assault occurs when words or actions cause someone to think they are in danger of bodily harm. An example would be telling someone you were going to beat them up or shoot them. If the victim is in fear of physical harm due to what you said or did, it is assault. Other examples of assault also include stepping into their space, moving aggressively, or shouting in their face. This behavior is considered simple assault, which is a misdemeanor. The penalty for simple assault is a fine up to $500, up to 60 days in jail, and a mark on your permanent police record. If there is a weapon involved, the charge could be upgraded to aggravated assault, which is a felony. The punishment for aggravated assault is up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. However, there are many degrees of assault, some with mandatory jail time. You do not have to carry through with the threat of violence. If you do, you could be charged with both assault and battery.
Defending Aggravated Assault Charges
It is very important that an experienced defense attorney in the Tampa area represent you on local charges. The law is complex, and the consequences of being found guilty of aggravated assault can damage your future.
To be found guilty of aggravated assault charges in Florida, the state must prove four things. According to Florida Statutes 784.021, the state must prove:
- The accused intentionally and unlawfully threatened, by word or act, to do violence to the alleged victim,
- At the time the threat was made, the accused appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat,
- The accused’s threat created in the mind of the alleged victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place, and
- The assault was made either with a deadly weapon or with a fully formed conscious intent to commit a felony.
Your attorney can use any of the following defenses in your case:
- Defense of another person
- Defense of property
○ The accused was being threatened by the accuser and felt a real fear of harm, so you used words or actions to defend yourself.
○ Much like self-defense, you would show that you were acting on behalf of someone else who was in danger of physical harm by the accuser.
○ The accused was defending their property against damage or from being illegally held.
○ This is a difficult defense. It is often used in a case where the action took place during a physical activity, such as a sporting event. This defense is used in these cases because the risk of battery in sports is inherent. It is sometimes used in sexual assault cases, where the accused tries to prove that the accuser agreed to the action. It is fair to note that this defense is often discounted as any aggressive and violent behavior is unacceptable and punishable.