Assault can be a confusing charge to understand because the offense includes some actions that are not immediately obvious as criminal behavior. You may be accused or charged with assault without hurting, or even touching, another person.
Every assault case is different, and a defense lawyer can help explain the charges and how the facts of your case are likely to be interpreted under the law to work toward the best possible outcome.
If you’re facing criminal charges involving assault, you need a Ft. Lauderdale assault lawyer who knows the law, who will listen to what you have to say, and who will present your case in the best possible light.
Definition of Assault
Although the charge of assault is often paired with battery, the two are separate offenses. Battery occurs when someone is physically contacted or harmed by the intentional actions of another, while assault involves the threat of harm rather than actual harm. An attempted battery can result in allegations or charges of assault.
At its most basic, assault is a second-degree misdemeanor that consists of certain elements:
- The action giving rise to the charge must be intentional
- The action must include the threat of violence against another, either by word or action
- The party committing the act must have an apparent ability inflict the threatened violence
- There must be some action that creates a “well-founded fear” of imminent violence
Those accused should immediatly consult with a Ft Lauderdale assault attorney to protect their rights and begin building a defense.
Often, assault charges stem from a fight situation. The circumstances involved are critical, because they can change a misdemeanor assault into an aggravated assault, which is treated as a third-degree felony.
The factors that escalate the offense to “aggravated assault” are either the use of a deadly weapon or firearm without the intent to kill, or an intent to commit serious bodily injury.
It is important to note that if a deadly weapon is used, it is not necessary to show that the individual wielding the weapon intended to cause any harm. If there was an intent to cause fear, an assault violation has occurred.
Other factors also increase the penalty in assault cases. For instance, if the assault is committed against a law enforcement officer or other listed government agent or against an individual aged 65 or older, the degree of the crime is increased, with a corresponding increase in penalty.
While a second-degree simple misdemeanor assault is punishable by no more than 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500, aggravated assault is much more serious, with penalties that include up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
The Role of an Assault Lawyer
An experienced assault attorney in Ft Lauderdale can help interpret the statutes applicable to the facts of your case, devise the most plausible defense strategy and serve as your advocate to work toward the best resolution.
Depending on the circumstances, a Broward County attorney at Leifert & Leifert will advise you whether to negotiate a plea and resolution with the prosecution or fight the charges in court.
Contact a Ft Lauderdale Assault Attorney Today
If you have been charged with assault, you might feel afraid or upset, and unsure of what the future holds. The criminal justice system can be confusing, but a positive outcome for these cases can be well within reach.
Let us use our experience, knowledge, work ethic to fight for you. Contact a Fort Lauderdale assault lawyer today so we can help.