Many people consider assault and battery to be a single crime, but Florida law draws a clear distinction between the two. Assault involves making threats or creating a reasonable fear of bodily harm, whereas battery consists of the infliction of physical harm on others. A Deerfield Beach assault Lawyer can explain the potential penalties that can arise from an assault conviction, which may be substantial.
The severity of these penalties may make contacting a criminal Lawyer at the outset of your case a priority for you. Without aggressive and experienced legal representation, you might have a challenging time sufficiently defending yourself against these charges. Reach out to one of our Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert today to get started.
Defining Assault Under State Law
Fla. Stat. § 784.011 defines assault as occurring when individuals intentionally threaten others with physical harm, have the apparent ability to carry out the threats, and take some step that causes others to experience a reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm.
In some cases, words may be enough to create a reasonable fear of immediate bodily harm. The critical element of an assault offense is the perspective of the alleged victims. If they feared harm, even if the accused individuals had no present ability to carry out that harm, an assault charge may be legally valid.
Charges and Penalties for Assault in Deerfield Beach
Under Fla. Stat. § 775.083 and Fla. Stat. §775.082, an assault charge is a second-degree Misdemeanor offense that can result in a jail sentence of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500. However, some circumstances can elevate these charges to a first-degree Misdemeanor offense. A conviction for a first-degree Misdemeanor offense can result in up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Additionally, under Fla. Stat. § 784.07, individuals can face enhanced charges if the targets of their assaults are specific classes of individuals who are acting in the course of their employment. These individuals include:
- Law Enforcement officers
- Firefighters and emergency services personnel
- Employees of Law Enforcement agencies
- Employees of public transit systems
When people face more severe assault charges, they typically are subject to harsher penalties, including lengthier terms of incarceration and higher fines. Enlisting the help of a Deerfield Beach assault Lawyer can be vital to your ability to effectively defend yourself against these possibly severe repercussions.
Aggravated Assault Charges and Penalties
Fla. Stat. § 784.021 defines aggravated assault as assault under either of the following circumstances:
- Using a deadly weapon, but without the intent to kill others
- To purposely commit another crime that is a Felony
Unlike simple assault, which is typically a Misdemeanor offense, aggravated assault is a third-degree Felony offense. A conviction for a third-degree Felony can result in a five-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
However, as is the case with assault, if the targets of the assault are police officers or other people in specific occupations, then the charges and penalties may increase. Aggravated assault charges increase to a second-degree Felony in these cases, which carries a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence. Given the severity of these charges, getting the advice of an assault Attorney in Deerfield Beach may be wise.
A Deerfield Beach Assault Attorney May Be Able to Help
An assault conviction creates a criminal record that many prospective employers and landlords may consider to be indicative of violence. You may be unable to pursue some careers altogether and have difficulties finding a well-paying job. A Deerfield Beach assault Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert may be able to help you avoid some of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction.
If you are facing Felony assault charges, the stakes are even higher. A Felony conviction for any crime can impact many of your civil rights, such as your ability to possess firearms. You may also be subject to various financial hardships as a result of your conviction, such as the payment of fines, costs of required counseling programs, and probation fees. When you are in this situation, you likely will need legal guidance to decide upon the best course of action in your case. Schedule a consultation today to get started.