Aggravated Assault is an enhanced form of assault. An assault can become an aggravated assault if a weapon was used or there was intent to commit a felony when committing the assault. The Aggravated Assault statute includes the definition of assault with additional requirements that the State must prove to make it an aggravated assault. In Florida, an Aggravated Assault is a felony with serious consequences. Call the experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers of SLG Law now to discuss your Aggravated Assault case.
Aggravated Assault is defined in Florida Statute Section 784.03. In order to prove that you committed an Aggravated Assault, the State must prove:
- You intentionally and unlawfully threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to the victim, and
- at the time, you appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat, and
- the act created in the mind of the victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place, and
- the assault was made with a deadly weapon, or
- the assault was made with an intent to commit a felony on the victim.
What is a "deadly weapon?"
A "deadly weapon" is a weapon that is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm. So, if you stabbed a person in the eye with a pencil, it would be a deadly weapon. If you lightly hit the eraser edge against their forearm, it would not be a deadly weapon. Of course, these are extreme examples. What we typically see are more difficult questions relating to whether a weapon is a "deadly weapon." Is a stick a deadly weapon if the person threatens to hit another person with it? How big is the stick? What is the likelihood that it would cause great bodily harm? These are questions that would potentially first be answered by a judge, after your attorney files a motion to dismiss, and then ultimately by a jury. If you have questions about whether the weapon in your Jacksonville aggravated assault case is a deadly weapon, give our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys a call to discuss it.
The State doesn't have to prove that the listed victim was actually in fear. It is enough that they prove that a reasonable person would be in fear under those circumstances. For example, if you pulled a gun on someone and said that you were going to shoot them and the victim simply laughed, the jury could convict you of aggravated assault even if the victim took the stand and testified that he was not in fear because the jury could conclude that a reasonable person would have been in fear if a gun was pointed at him or her. In fact, even if the listed victim was behind bullet proof glass, a jury could determine that a reasonable person would still have been in fear that the glass would break and they could find a person guilty of aggravated assault. Of course, if a listed victim takes the stand and testifies that they were not in fear, a jury would usually be more likely to question whether a reasonable person would be in fear under those same circumstances. If you have questions about whether the State can prove that a reasonable person would have been placed in fear under the circumstances of your Jacksonville aggravated assault case, give our criminal defense attorneys a call today to set up a free consultation.
Aggravated Assault is a Third Degree Felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Aggravated Assault with a firearm has it's own potential sentence, so click on the link if you want to learn about Aggravated Assault with a Firearm in Florida.
Some common defenses to Aggravated Assault are:
- a reasonable person would not have been in fear
- self defense,
- no ability to carry out the threat,
- did not threaten violence
- did not threaten violence with a weapon
- the threat was not imminent - if you qualify the threat, (i.e. if you don't stop what you're doing, I'm going to punch you), then the State may not be able to prove that you created a well founded fear that violence was about to take place (imminent).
Each case is different. Give our experienced criminal defense attorneys a call to discuss the facts of your case and possible defenses unique to you.
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Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys