Aggravated Assault Criminal Defense Attorney
Hiring an attorney to represent you against aggravated assault charges is an important first step to forming your defense. Any charge that is aggravated carries a harsher sentence and can be more detrimental to your criminal record.
What Is Considered An Aggravated Assault?
An assault is a verbal attack in which the accused threatens to do harm and appears to have the capacity to do so. Aggravated assault follows along a similar line; in order for a crime to be considered an aggravated assault the following conditions must be met:
- The defendant made an intentional threat, either through words or actions, to harm the victim.
- When the assault was made, the defendant appeared to be able to carry out the threat.
- The victim had a reasonable fear that they were about to come under harm.
- Either the defendant made the assault with the intent to commit a felony or they used a deadly weapon during their assault.
Intent To Threaten Violence
There is a clear line between assault and battery. Assault, including aggravated assault, need not end in actual violence in order for the assault to have happened. A defendant can be charged with aggravated assault if intent to threaten violence was present, even if intent to follow through with actual harm was not. A prosecutor will have to prove that you meant to say or use your actions to imply a threat to another person.
Intent To Commit Felony
This means that the aggravated assault occurred during the course of a felony – a felony in which the defendant knowingly intended to commit. For example, a bank robber threatens to kill bank hostages while stealing money from the bank vault – there is an intent to commit robbery of the bank and threats to harm the hostages inside the bank.
Defining Deadly Weapon
Any object that is used or is threatened to be used to create great bodily harm or death. The most common “deadly weapons” are knives, blades, and firearms but other objects can be construed as a deadly weapon if the intent of their use is to severely injury or kill another person. A baseball bat, viscous dog, vehicle, or beer bottle can all be used as a deadly weapon if the intent to use it as such is there.
Proving Aggravated Assault
In order for a defendant to be convicted of aggravated assault, the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that each of the four aspects of aggravated assault were met.
Defenses To An Aggravated Assault
The burden of proof lies on the prosecutions side to convict a defendant of aggravated assault. There are numerous defenses to aggravated assault including:
- Intent to threaten cannot be proven
- False allegations of assault
- Intent to commit a felon cannot be proven
- Did not use a deadly weapon
- Victim’s fear of harm is not justified
- Self defense of self or others
- Stand your ground defense
- Words or actions were not actually a threat
Penalties for Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault is considered to be a third-degree felony in the State of Florida. It carries up to 5 years in prison or up to 5 years of probation as well as a $5,000 fine. In the event that the “deadly weapon” was present or discharged during the aggravated assault, the sentencing is more severe under Florida’s 10-20-Life law.
- Possession Of Firearm During Assault: Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
- Possession Of A Semiautomatic Or Machine Gun During Assault: Mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison
- Discharge Of A Firearm During Assault: Mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison
If a firearm was present during an aggravated assault incident, for example, brandished while a threat to shoot was made, then the mandatory minimum punishment would be 10 years rather than 5. If the firearm was discharged, then the sentence would jump to 20 years.
Hire An Aggravated Assault Criminal Defense Attorney
Aggravated assault can be easily defended, if you know how to approach the case and accurately defend against on or all aspects of the law that must be present. McGinn Law has decades of experience in defending criminal charges, including aggravated assault. Trust your case in the hands of experience, with an attorney who is willing to look out for you, your rights, and your best interests.