Jacksonville Aggravated Assault with a Firearm Lawyers


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
help defend people against Aggravated Assault with a Firearm allegations

Aggravated Assault with a Firearm is a very serious type of criminal case that our Jacksonville criminal defense office handles.  The reason is that many people with no prior record find themselves facing lengthy sentences for what they believed was an act of self defense.  Sometimes, when the State believes that there may be a viable self defense claim, they may offer probation or home detention with the threat of prison if you lose at trial.  These cases present difficult decisions for anyone to make.  If you, or a loved one, is charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, call the experienced criminal defense lawyers of SLG Law today to discuss your case.  

What is Aggravated Assault with a Firearm?

Aggravated Assault with a Firearm is defined in both Florida Statute 784.021 and the sentencing options are laid out in  Florida Statute 775.087.  To prove the crime of aggravated assault with a firearm, the State must prove several things.  First, the State must prove that you intentionally and unlawfully threatened to do violence to the victim.  The violence threatened can by by word or act.  So if you threaten someone with violence, that could be sufficient.  The State must also prove that you appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat.  So, if you threaten to hit someone with a baseball bat, but you don't have a baseball bat, then it is unlikely that you have the ability to carry out the threat at the time.  The State must also prove that your act created in the mind of the victim, a well founded fear that violence was about to take place.  So, for example, if you made a threatening comment in jest and it was clear it was in jest from the context, the State may not be able to prove this element. The State must also prove that the assault was made with a firearm.  This is the element that aggravates the offense from simple assault to aggravated assault with a firearm.  

Does the listed victim have to be in fear for it to be an assault?

No. The State must only prove that a "reasonable person" would have been in fear, not that the actual listed victim was in fear.  It is the jury who decides whether a reasonable person would be in fear.  So, if the listed victim testifies that he was not afraid when the defendant pointed a loaded gun at him, the jury could still find that a reasonable person would be in fear in that situation.  
If the circumstances were such as to ordinarily induce a well-founded fear in the mind of a reasonable person, then the victim may be found to have been in fear, and actual fear on the part of the actual victim need not be shown.

What are the potential consequences of an Aggravated Assault with a Firearm conviction?

The consequences of conviction can be extremely punitive.  Florida law used to provide for minimum mandatory sentences when a firearm was involved in an aggravated assault.  Florida got rid of those minimum mandatory sentences but people charged with aggravated assault are still facing serious penalties and judges still view aggravated assaults as very serious offenses.  

An Aggravated Assault is a third degree felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison.  If the listed victim is a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic, the penalty increases to a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison with a three (3) year minimum mandatory sentence.  

What are the possible defenses to Aggravated Assault with a Firearm?

By far, the most common defense to Aggravated Assault with a firearm is self defense.  Typically, the person charged believed that they were defending themselves by pointing a gun and or discharging the gun to avoid being injured by the listed victim.  Other defenses include a lack of or conflict in the evidence where witnesses or the listed victim may not be credible and their statements may contradict the other testimony or evidence. Law enforcement officers often fail to fully investigate self defense claims and therefore it is up to the criminal defense attorney to thoroughly investigate and develop a viable self defense claim.  

CALL US!

Allegations of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm can have very serious consequences, whether the allegations are true or not.

If you have been accused of a aggravated assault with a firearm,

Call us:
Shorstein, Lasnetski, & Gihon 
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)
or
 contact us online.


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