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Florida’s Assault Laws

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Assault is a crime in Florida, and anyone convicted can expect to have a criminal record and all the fallout that entails. At Bundza & Rodriguez, our criminal defense attorneys have handled many assault cases, and we know how to attack the state’s case.

Assault Defined

Florida’s criminal assault law is found in statute 784.011, which defines assault as having the following three elements:

  • An intentional, unlawful verbal or physical threat to do violence to a person
  • Coupled with the apparent ability to commit the violence
  • Doing some act that creates a reasonable fear in the target of imminent violence

Every element must be present for the state to convict someone of assault.

For example, a person might yell and insult a person, but unless they create an intentional threat of physical violence, then it is not assault.

Likewise, the defendant must have the apparent ability to commit the assault. Someone paralyzed in a wheelchair probably cannot commit the assault. Likewise, stating you will shoot someone when you have no gun also does not show you have the apparent ability to commit assault.

Finally, the defendant needs to take some act that creates fear. Words alone will not create assault. Also, the defendant must fear that violence is imminent. Standing across the room and swinging at someone does not create an imminent threat.

So what would qualify? For example, taking a swing at someone, but missing because the person dodged your fist probably qualifies as assault. Throwing an object at someone but missing them also likely qualifies. If you also strike them, you can also be charged for battery.

Punishment

Florida takes assault seriously and anyone convicted will be punished for a second-degree misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies, but you could nevertheless face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Criminal convictions can also carry collateral consequences, such as difficulty getting a job, apartment or loan. You should discuss these repercussions with your Volusia County criminal defense attorney.

Aggravated Assault

Florida law also criminalizes “aggravated assault,” which is a more serious offense than simple assault. Under statute 784.021, a person commits aggravated assault when they commit an assault (as explained above) (1) with a deadly weapon but without an intent to kill or (2) during the commission of a felony.

For example, using a gun or knife to assault someone would qualify as aggravated assault. Also, assaulting someone as part of a robbery would count as aggravated assault.

Florida metes out a stiffer punishment for felony assault. As a felony in the third degree, it carries up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. If you are a habitual offender, then other penalties will apply.

Speak to Bundza & Rodriguez

If you have been arrested for assault, you need an attorney’s help immediately. At our firm, we have the experience necessary to help obtain a favorable result for our clients. To schedule a free consultation with a Volusia County criminal defense attorney, please call 386-252-5170.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0784/Sections/0784.011.html

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