Assault and Aggravated Assault - Florida Statutes 784.011 and 784.021
Are you being charged, in Palm Beach County, Florida, with Assault or Aggravated Assault? We are Assault and Aggravated Assault attorneys located in West Palm Beach. When you are arrested for Assault or Aggravated Assault you want a lawyer that understands and practices in this area of law. Don’t hire a lawyer that dabbles in criminal defense, hire a criminal defense attorney that has extensive experience in Assault or Aggravated Assault cases. Your attorney needs to have knowledge and experience but also needs to know the players. Knowing the players comes from years of being inside the courtroom. Finding the best criminal defense attorney in Palm Beach County, for your case, is difficult. You need to review their educational background, experience in criminal cases, their reputation in the community, and their ability to communicate with you, the client. The quality of the criminal defense attorney you hire to defend your Assault or Aggravated Assault case is extremely important. We ask that you consider our South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys.
Assault and battery are two different crimes that normally accompany each other like peanut butter and jelly. Whenever a person decides to hit someone (battery), they have to assault them first. There are two forms of assault: (1) simple assault and (2) aggravated assault.
Definition of Assault
Assault is where the defendant intentionally and illegally made a credible threat to physically harm the victim and the threat put the victim in reasonable fear that he would be harmed.
Florida Statute 784.011 prohibits anyone from assaulting another individual.
For example, for the defendant, Mr. Jones, to be convicted of the crime of assault, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- Mr. Jones intentionally and illegally threatened (by word or action) to hurt the victim;
- While Mr. Jones was threatening the victim, Mr. Jones looked like he could actually hurt the victim; and
- The victim had a reasonable fear that he was about to be hurt.
The victim’s thoughts have to be reasonable and the defendant’s thoughts intentional. The facts of the situation are important. Certain facts can change the outcome of the case. For example, was Mr. Jones intending to threaten the victim or is the victim overhearing Mr. Jones acting out a scene in a movie? Was the victim reasonably thinking that Mr. Jones could hurt the victim if Mr. Jones was in a body cast in a hospital bed? The victim’s expectation of being hurt must be reasonable. Reasonableness is determined by the average person and not what the victim deems reasonable.
Punishment for Assault
Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor which has a maximum punishment of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Definition of Aggravated Assault
Under Florida Statute 784.021, for the defendant, Mr. Jones again, to be convicted of aggravated assault, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- Mr. Jones intentionally and illegally threatened (by word or action) to cause physical harm;
- Mr. Jones looked like he had the capability of committing the threat;
- The threat produced in the victim reasonable fear that the defendant would cause physical harm; and
- The assault was with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill, or
- Mr. Jones was committing a felony.
The state does not have to prove that Mr. Jones had intent to kill. The “deadly weapon” does not have to be deadly but threatened to be used in a way that would kill someone. (Example: toy gun)
Punishment for Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony which has a maximum punishment of 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Contact The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
If you have been arrested and charged with assault or aggravated assault in South Florida, it is important that you contact an attorney at The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A. to discuss your defense options. Our Palm Beach County Assault Defense Attorneys can handle your case all the way to trial.