Assault cases often involve verbal disputes, can carry serious penalties, and also offer a range of possible defenses, which makes the needs for having qualified legal representation from a Delray Beach assault lawyer significant. If you have been arrested for assault or aggravated assault in Delray Beach, or anywhere in Florida, the time to act is now. The earlier you consult an experienced assault lawyer, the greater the likelihood of securing a positive outcome in your case. En Español.
What Makes an Assault Charge in Delray Beach?
Assault is considered a violent crime because it involves the intentional threat of imminent harm against another person coupled with the apparent ability to carry out such harm. Assault is distinguishable from battery in that it does not require any kind of offensive touching or physical harm to another person to constitute a crime.
Under Florida Statutes 784.011, an assault occurs when an individual makes an intentional, unlawful threat of violence against another person, has the apparent ability to carry out the threat, and creates in the other person, a well-founded fear that such violence is imminent.
In Florida, the two most common types of assault charges are simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by 60 days in jail, six months of probation, and a maximum fine of $500. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by a maximum of five years in prison, five years of probation, and a fine of up to $5,000. If an individual is facing these penalties, they should consult a Delray Beach assault lawyer who can help mitigate their circumstances.
When is Assault Considered Aggravated?
Aggravated assault means an assault that was either made with a deadly weapon, but absent the intent to kill, or with an intent to commit a felony. Intent to commit a felony typically means that the person committed an assault during the commission of a felony offense such as a robbery or burglary.
A deadly weapon includes any item or device that, if used or threatened to be used, is likely to produce serious harm or death. Prior to the passage of CS/SB 288 in 2016, a conviction for aggravated assault involving the use or possession of a firearm triggered a mandatory minimum sentence under Florida’s 10-20-Life law.
Under the new law, aggravated assault convictions alone no longer qualify for mandatory minimum sentences and Courts can consider mitigating evidence in determining the appropriate punishment.
Enhancements for Assaults Against Certain Persons
A Delray Beach assault lawyer can clarify what circumstances can enhance the penalties of assault charges. Under Florida law, the penalties for assault or aggravated assault are enhanced if the offense is committed against certain types of individuals.
Those categories of people include:
- Emergency medical care provider (e.g. EMT, nurse, physician)
- Law enforcement officer
- Public transit employees
- Railroad special officer
- Individuals 65 years or older
- Sports official (e.g. umpire, referee, or linesman)
- Code inspectors
Pursuant to Florida Statutes 784.07, the charge for assaulting an emergency medical care provider engaged in the lawful performance of their duties is reclassified as a second-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree misdemeanor.
Help from a Lawyer
If you have been accused of assault, it is important to understand that you do have options. Delray Beach assault lawyers can scrutinize the evidence collected by law enforcement, determine if any affirmative defenses are applicable to the facts of your case, and utilize every tool available to vigorously fight the charges against you.