There are multiple levels of assault in West Palm Beach, each of which carries a varying degree of penalties that can impact an individual in both the short and long term.
With this in mind, if you have been charged with any sort of West Palm Beach assault crime, it is important to consult with an experienced West Palm Beach assault lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney can build a defense strategy to combat any sort of assault charge and work to achieve a successful outcome on your behalf.
Common Assault Charges
Many different types of assault charges are common in Florida.
Florida has very liberal gun laws. Unless someone is a convicted felon, they can apply for a concealed weapons permit. Many people have one, which results in a handful of individuals walking around legally carrying a concealed firearm.
An assault can sometimes escalate quickly. People may get into an argument, pushing or shoving may occur, and someone may pull a gun. The person who pulled out a weapon would be in trouble unless they felt that their life was threatened. If the person on the receiving end feels threatened by a gun or threatened by violence with a gun, they would be considered a victim of aggravated assault with a firearm. People are also sometimes threatened by knives in such circumstances.
Instances of road rage can also bring forward charges of assault. Road rage can occur when someone tries to run someone else over with their car, or run them off the road with their car. Even if the car did not actually hit them or touch them, but made such movements with the car that made the victim think they were about to get run over or off the roadway, this would qualify as an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
A simple assault is a threat to do simple harm and is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. If the person who was assaulted is a law enforcement officer, emergency medical technician, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical personnel, or other first responders, then the charge would be elevated to a first-degree misdemeanor.
The second common type of West Palm Beach assault charge is aggravated assault, which is a threat to do great bodily harm. This is considered a third-degree felony or a second-degree felony with minimum mandatory penalties depending on if there was a weapon used, and what type of weapon that is. Any threat using a weapon is aggravated assault and increases the offense level from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Assault and Battery Charges
A person can be arrested for both assault and battery in West Palm Beach. Most batteries have an assault as a lesser charge included. For instance, a person may threaten somebody with harm and then may have to actually commit the act of harm.
The threat is the assault, and the commission of the act is the battery. Police tend to go with the higher charge of battery unless there was a separate act that is fairly elucidated out by the witness, but a person can be charged with both. Such West Palm Beach assault charges can be best understood using a knowledgeable lawyer.
Degrees of Severity
There are varying degrees of West Palm Beach assault charges that an individual may face. First, it is important to define assault as a threat to do violence to a person. A simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, the lowest level of crime in Florida. This is the threat of being violent with the ability to do so. Simple assault can, however, become a first-degree misdemeanor if the assault takes place on an elderly person, code inspector, or first responder. Such factors enhance the crime.
Simple battery is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. If a person causes great bodily harm, such as anything that might lead to scarring, permanent disfigurement, or a broken bone, it is considered aggravated battery, which is at the very least a third-degree felony.
Then, there is aggravated assault, a third-degree felony. If a person uses a weapon, it is aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. If they use a firearm, it is aggravated battery with a firearm. It is not attempted murder unless the intention was to kill and not to just cause great bodily harm. Assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill and with the intent to commit a felony is also a third-degree felony. The expansive list of assault charges that an individual in West Palm Beach may face can be best explained using an experienced lawyer.