While many people use the terms assault and battery interchangeably or in conjunction with one another, State law draws a clear distinction between the two. Whereas battery involves the infliction of physical harm on others, assault involves the threatened infliction of bodily harm toward others. As the consequences of an assault conviction may be harsh, a Loxahatchee assault Lawyer can be instrumental in defending the rights of individuals who are facing these charges.
Assault charges and penalties vary according to the severity of the situation and other relevant factors. You could face time in Jail, probation, fines, and other undesirable penalties for an assault conviction. Schedule a FREE consultation with one of our skilled Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert to learn more about which approaches you should take to defend yourself in Court.
Assault in Loxahatchee
Under Fla. Stat. § 784.011, people commit assault when they:
- Purposely threaten to cause physical harm to others
- Have the apparent ability to carry out their threats
- Take some action to cause others a reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm
The threatening behavior may stem from words spoken by the accused or by the physical actions that they took toward the alleged victims. The critical element in this definition of assault is the perception of the alleged victims. Even if the accused persons had no present ability to harm others, they still commit assault if the others believed that they could cause them harm.
Fla. Stat. § 775.083 and Fla. Stat. §775.082 provide that an assault charge is a second-degree Misdemeanor that carries the potential for up to 60 days in Jail and a $500 fine. However, various circumstances may elevate an assault charge to a first-degree Misdemeanor. A first degree Misdemeanor conviction can result in up to one year in Jail and a $1,000 fine.
Aggravated Assault Charges
Assault becomes aggravated under Fla. Stat. § 784.021 when they carry out assault with a deadly weapon, but without an intent to kill, or when they carry out assault with the intent to commit a Felony. The ramifications for an aggravated assault conviction may be much more severe than for a simple assault conviction. Although assault is typically a Misdemeanor charge, aggravated assault is a third-degree Felony.
As a result, an aggravated assault conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to five years and a $5,000 fine. However, if the target of the aggravated assault is a police officer or a person in several other occupations, then the offense increases to a second-degree Felony. In this situation, the crime also calls for a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years.
Factors that Enhance Assault Charges
If certain enhancing factors exist in an assault or aggravated assault case, the level of the charges and the accompanying penalties may increase. Under Fla. Stat. § 784.07, individuals can face more severe charges if the alleged targets of the assault are individuals who are performing the official duties of specific occupations:
- Law Enforcement officers, including licensed security officers, traffic investigation and enforcement officers, and railroad special officers
- First responders, such as firefighters and emergency services personnel
- Various Law Enforcement agency employees, including breath test operators and agency inspectors
- Employees or agents of public transit systems
A conviction for an assault or aggravated assault against one of these individuals can result in substantially longer terms of incarceration and higher fines. Individuals likely will benefit from the advice of an assault attorney in Loxahatchee when facing assault or aggravated assault charges, particularly in cases that involve these enhancements.
Call a Loxahatchee Assault Attorney Today
Various defenses may exist in assault cases, but legal advice likely will be necessary to choose the best defense strategy in your case. All cases are different, so getting a legal opinion can be crucial to a positive outcome in your case.
When facing assault charges, you need a strong legal advocate by your side throughout all stages of your criminal proceedings. The stakes are high in these cases and could have a significant impact on your professional and personal reputation. Call a Loxahatchee assault Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert and explore the options that may be available to you.