Aggravated Assault

Criminal Defense Lawyer Helping Bradenton Residents Fight Charges

The crime of aggravated assault does not require touching another person in Florida. You could be convicted for threatening violence without actually perpetrating a violent crime. Prosecutors take aggravated assault seriously. When weapons such as firearms or even ordinary objects adapted to inflict serious physical injuries, such as a baseball bat or a car, are involved, you can face the possibility of a very harsh sentence. Bradenton assault defense lawyer Will Hanlon fights for people accused of aggravated assault and other violent crimes, such as domestic violence. If you are being investigated or charged, you should call us.

Aggravated Assault Charges in Florida

Aggravated assault is an assault, plus one of two other circumstances. Aggravated assault may be charged under Florida Statute section 784.021 when a prosecutor believes that they can prove that: (1) you intentionally and unlawfully (2) threatened with words or acts (3) to perpetrate violence against the victim, (4) you seemed capable of carrying out your threats at the time of making them, (5) the victim felt a well-founded fear that they were about to be a victim of a violent crime, and either (6) the assault was made with a deadly weapon, or it was done with the intent to perpetrate a felony.

You need not have wounded a victim with the deadly weapon in order to be charged. For example, if you were intending to rape someone and advanced upon her with a knife, you could be charged with aggravated assault. Similarly, if you were at a party and got angry with someone, so you told him that you would kill him and took out your gun for emphasis, you could face aggravated assault charges. For another example, you could face this charge if you were holding a gun during a carjacking.

What is a deadly weapon under the statute? It can include household objects that have been adapted to kill or seriously injure. For example, you could be charged with aggravated assault for trying to frighten someone by driving toward them, even if the deadly weapon is a car. For another example, a stone sculpture aimed at someone's head could be a deadly weapon. An assault defense attorney can help Bradenton residents understand the wide range of instruments that may be covered.

While assault may be a misdemeanor, aggravated assault is a third-degree felony. You could be sentenced to 5 years in prison or on probation and a $5,000 fine. If you discharge a gun or another firearm during an assault, you can face even harsher penalties.

However, like other crimes, aggravated assault needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which is not an easy standard. A Bradenton assault defense attorney may start by raising a reasonable doubt about an element with the prosecutor. Perhaps you did not intend to threaten the alleged victim. Sometimes prosecutors understand that their cases are not as solid as they believe, or they understand that the victim is not credible. The earlier that we get involved, the more likely it is that we may have influence over the charges. However, in other cases, it may be necessary to negotiate a plea for a lesser charge. If, for example, there are doubts about whether the deadly weapon was really a deadly weapon, it may be possible to negotiate a plea to simple assault.

However, in other situations, more substantive defenses may be appropriate, and the circumstances will dictate which are appropriate to raise. It may be appropriate to raise self-defense or defense of others under circumstances in which you were being attacked. In some cases, even deadly force may be proportional to the situation at hand, and the Stand Your Ground defense may apply. For example, if you are in your home, and someone breaks in or stays unlawfully, it may be presumed that you had a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury.

Consult an Assault Defense Lawyer in Bradenton

Aggravated assault can result in serious penalties for people in and around Bradenton. Whether you are being investigated or charged, it is crucial to consult a skillful trial attorney as soon as possible to mount a strong defense. Will Hanlon has represented people accused of violent crimes since 1994. Contact Hanlon Law at (941) 462-1789 or via our online form.