Being arrested for assault or aggravated assault does not guarantee a conviction. In fact, there are several defenses to assault and aggravated assault charges, including, but not limited to; self-defense, lack of intent, conditional threats, the accuser’s fear was unreasonable, false allegations, stand your ground, or insufficient evidence.
An experienced assault attorney can evaluate the specific circumstances of your case, develop a personalized defense strategy, and explore every opportunity to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether.
A Boca Raton assault lawyer will help you determine which defenses may be applicable to your case and aggressively advocate for the best outcome possible under the circumstances.
Types of Assault Offenses
The crime of assault involves a credible threat of imminent physical harm. In Florida, there are two forms of assault–simple assault and aggravated assault. Unlike the crime of battery, assault and aggravated assault are defined in a way that does not require any actual physical contact between the alleged aggressor and accuser.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense and aggravated assault is a felony, but both are considered violent crimes. Penalties for assault and aggravated assault can vary depending on the underlying circumstances, whether any sentencing enhancements apply, and if the offense is subject to reclassification.
To convict someone of assault under Florida Statutes Section 784.011, the state must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The accused intentionally and unlawfully threatened, by word or act, to commit violence against another
- At the time, the accused appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat and
- The actions of the accused created a reasonable fear in the other person that violence was imminent
Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Assault charges can be reclassified to a more serious offense if the accuser is a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical care provider, or person 65 years or older.
Aggravated Assault Charges
To convict someone of aggravated assault under Section 784.021, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused made an assault as defined in 784.011 with either a deadly weapon or a fully-formed conscious intent to commit a felony.
If the person is accused of committing assault with a deadly weapon, the state is not required to show that they intended to kill the person in order to obtain a conviction for aggravated assault. A weapon is considered deadly if it is used or threatened to be used in a way that is likely to produce death or serious bodily harm, such as a firearm.
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. As with assault, aggravated assault charges can be reclassified to an offense of a higher degree if the crime was committed against certain categories of individuals. A qualified Boca Raton assault lawyer can help mitigate the charges that an individual might face.
Contacting a Boca Raton Assault Attorney
Assault is a serious crime that can carry a severe stigma. Being known as someone who has committed a violent criminal offense, can make it difficult to procure housing, or to find and maintain employment. If you have been charged with assault, contact an attorney. A Boca Raton assault lawyer can provide the legal guidance you need so you can put your best foot forward. If you have been charged with assault or aggravated assault in the Boca Raton area, contact an attorney in order to discuss your defense options.