When a person is charged with assault in West Palm Beach, it can be serious. Florida has substantial penalties for those that are convicted of assault, including fines and possible jail time. There are possible defenses for these charges, so it is important to speak to a West Palm Beach assault lawyer as soon as possible after charges have been made against you. A skilled defense attorney is essential in building your defense.
Assault and Battery Laws
In Florida, an assault is thought to have taken place when an individual purposely threatens another person with words, or an act that seems to try and physically hurt another individual and that threat to do harm is imminent to the person who has received it. An aggravated assault is when an assault occurs, and a weapon such as a knife or gun was used during the assault.
Battery charges are often brought in conjunction with assault charges. In Florida, battery is considered to have taken place when an individual purposely touches or strikes another individual, with the intent to do harm and without that individual’s consent.
Just as assault can be considered as “aggravated,” so too can battery. Aggravated battery is thought to have occurred when an individual causes substantial bodily injury, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or uses a weapon considered to be deadly.
How Charges are Made
When charges are pressed, it is an indication that the victim would like to see the accused punished. When they are dropped however, the victim does not want to see the accused punished or there is not enough evidence for the Government to prove the case. However, this is not an actual representation of how the law works.
Unlike in civil cases, when criminal charges are being brought against someone, the prosecuting attorney will be the Assistant State Attorney. This is an attorney that works for the state and prosecutes (presents evidence of guilt) against the accused. Like in most other states, in Florida the Assistant State Attorney has the power to still file charges, even when the victim chooses not to. This is most common in domestic violence cases.
Whenever an assault charge has been filed against an individual, it is important that they speak to a lawyer in West Palm Beach.
Assault and Battery Penalties
An assault and/or battery charge can carry serious consequences. These charges have sentence requirements that have been set out by state law.
- Assault is considered to be a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalty is no more than 60 days in jail and a fine less than or equal to $500.
- Battery is still considered a misdemeanor, although these charges do carry more severe penalties. A simple battery charge carries jail time of up to one year, and a maximum fine of $1,000.
- Aggravated assault is a much more serious crime, with convicted individuals facing up to five years in prison and fines up to $5,000. Aggravated assault is considered a third-degree felony.
- Aggravated battery, the most serious of all assault and battery charges can be up to a second-degree felony in the state of Florida, with sentences being as much as 15 years in jail, and maximum fines of $15,000. Aggravated Battery with a Firearm comes with a three-year minimum mandatory prison sentence if convicted
Defending an Assault Charge
Assault charges, regardless of whether they carry an additional battery charge, can be very serious crimes and can haunt people for the rest of their lives. These are considered acts of violence and can be considered as part of a person’s “moral” character.
There are several different defenses available to those facing assault charges. In some instances, the accused may have been defending themselves, or they had no intention of threatening another individual. These are just two of many defenses that can be used in assault cases.
Evidence Likely to Be Used by the Prosecution
It is important to note that the Prosecution does not need much to prove an assault charge. In comparison to other criminal offenses, the Prosecution can rely heavily on the testimony of the parties involved to prove their case. As a result, they would only need to prove that the defendant intentionally threatened someone, had the ability to carry out the threat, and created the fear that they could follow through with their threat. Therefore, individuals charged with this offense should hire a professional assault defense attorney in West Palm Beach as soon as they are charged.
Contact an Assault Attorney Today
An experienced West Palm Beach assault lawyer can bring these circumstances to light in court, but it is imperative that accused individuals speak to an attorney as soon as charges are being made against them. Contact an experienced West Palm Beach assault lawyer as soon as possible.