The Three Types of Aggravated Assault in Florida
Florida basically has six aggravated assault laws. Since it arises in several different circumstances, aggravated assault is one of the most commonly-charged felonies in the Sunshine State. It is also one of the most serious felonies in Florida. Since it is a violent offense, the sentences are usually long. These convictions also have significant collateral consequences.
Aggravated assault charges often depend on the alleged victim’s testimony. This testimony is sometimes hard to secure and often not very compelling. Typically, the alleged victim and defendant were both drinking. As a result, especially if there is a valid defense, a Tampa assault & battery attorney can usually resolve these charges favorably. This favorable resolution could be a complete dismissal of charges, a not-guilty verdict at trial, or a lenient plea bargain.
Normally, aggressive prosecutors enhance ordinary assault to aggravated assault charges if the facts could possibly support such an enhancement. There are basically three different possible circumstances.
Nature of the Injury
According to Florida’s Uniform Crime reports program, an aggravated assault injury must be a severe laceration, apparent broken bones, possible internal injury, loss of teeth, or loss of consciousness.
Frequently, the alleged victim goes to a hospital after a rather brutal assault and officers take the person’s statement at the hospital. Since the assault was usually at least an hour previously, many of these alleged victims do not look particularly bad. Additionally, rather than wait several hours at the emergency room, many of them go home before they see doctors.
Therefore, there might be insufficient evidence regarding the nature of the injury. There is no “apparent” serious injury and there are no medical bills which suggest otherwise.
Most people know that using a deadly or dangerous weapon transforms an ordinary assault into an aggravated assault. However, most people do not know how broad this definition is. Pretty much any solid object, even something like a drinking glass, could be a deadly or dangerous weapon.
Charging prosecutors often jump on these facts and enhance the charges, even if the object did not legally qualify as a deadly or dangerous weapon in that particular instance.
The proportionality element of a self-defense claim is often complex in these cases. Depending on the facts, it could be legal to use a gun to stop an assailant with a knife. For example, if post-super soldier formula Steve Rogers attacked pre-formula Steve Rogers with a knife, the thin, sickly Steve probably would need a gun to effectively defend himself.
People over 65 are in a protected class. So are most government workers, such as emergency responders. Normally, these upgrades are fairly easy to prove in court.
But not so fast. The government worker protected class usually only applies if the alleged victims were discharging their official duties. So, a police officer moonlighting as a security guard is not a police officer. Additionally, if the traffic stop or other detention was illegal, the officers were not discharging their official duties.
Aggravated assault is a specific intent crime. The defendant must intend both the conduct, which is the assault, and the result. In this case, that result is assaulting an elderly person or firefighter or whatever. Intoxicated individuals cannot commit specific intent drones as a matter of law.
Partner with a Dedicated Attorney
Aggravated assault cases have many moving parts. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, contact the OA Law Firm. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.