Aggravated Assault Laws in Florida
According to § 784.021, Fla. Stat., a person is guilty of aggravated assault if they commit an assault either with a deadly weapon without intent to kill or with an intent to commit a felony. You may also be charged with aggravated assault if you are found to be acting in furtherance of a riot.
Aggravated Assault Penalties
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. You will also have a permanent violent criminal record that can result in problems obtaining work, housing, education, and more.
There may be alternatives to these harsh penalties, depending on your case’s aggravating and mitigating factors. For example, suppose you do not have any prior criminal record. In that case, you may be able to serve a suspended sentence with no actual jail time in exchange for taking anger management classes, community service, staying away from the alleged victim, and other alternatives.
Aggravated Assault Charges – Aggravating and Mitigating Factors
Aggravating factors are those that might make your penalties harsher, while mitigating factors may lessen your penalties. The factors that determine whether someone is charged with aggravated assault, or a lesser offense vary, but some common aggravating factors include the following:
- The use of a deadly weapon
- The severity of the victim’s injuries
- The intent of the offender
- The relationship between the offender and the victim
- Any prior criminal record of the offender
Some common mitigating factors that could lead to a lesser charge or a lighter sentence include:
- The offender was acting in self-defense or defense of others
- The victim provoked the offender
- The offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense
- The offender has no prior criminal record
It is important to note that the aggravating and mitigating factors in a particular aggravated assault case will vary depending on the specific circumstances. If you have been charged with aggravated assault, it is essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and your options.
Collateral Consequences of Aggravated Assault Charges
The collateral consequences of aggravated assault charges are the non-criminal penalties resulting from being charged with or convicted of aggravated assault. These consequences can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, but they can include:
- Finding employment opportunities
- Difficulty finding a safe and affordable place to live
- Obtaining educational financing
- Increased monitoring and disciplinary sanctions in education
- Ineligibility for certain types of government benefits
- Difficulty obtaining a visa or green card
- Inability to vote or reintegrate into society
How Long Does an Aggravated Assault Charge Stay on Your Record?
Aggravated assault is a felony in Florida, and felony convictions can remain on your record for life. That means that your reputation and collateral consequences will follow you forever.
How an Aggravated Assault Lawyer Can Help Your Case
When facing life-altering charges, you must recruit an experienced attorney you can trust. Your lawyer can challenge every part of the prosecution’s case, from evidence to experts, and fight to completely dismiss your charges.
Getting Your Charges Dismissed
Your attorney’s first goal is to dismiss your case fully. There are several arguments and defense options your attorney can explore, including the following:
- Self-Defense:You may have acted in self-defense or defense of others.
- Provocation: If the victim provoked you, the charges may be dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.
- Lack of Evidence: The prosecution must gather sufficient evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they lack the evidence needed to obtain a conviction, your charges will be dismissed.
- Mental Illness: If you were suffering from a mental illness at the time of the offense, the charges may be dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.
- Plea Negotiation: You may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to have the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge in exchange for pleading guilty to a different charge.
Going to Trial
If negotiations break down and the prosecution won’t offer a fair deal, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial. The prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Our job is to create doubt in your case and challenge the prosecution’s arguments.
Evidence might have been obtained illegally, not all elements of the crime may have been present, or you were rightfully defending yourself from an attacker. Whatever the situation may be, we’ll present a strong case at trial to dismiss your charges.
Avoid the Harshest Consequences – Call Today
Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or similar in Florida is very different than simple assault. As a serious felony offense, the penalties can last forever. With a skilled aggravated assault attorney at Mitkevicius Law, PLLC, you can protect yourself and get the best outcome possible.
Attorney Josef Mitkevicius has more than ten years of experience that he will use to fight for you. Contact us at 850-361-2142 to schedule a free consultation.