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Violent Crimes: Assault Charges

There are different types of assault offenses that can be charged in the State of Florida. The defense attorneys at the law firm of DMT have defended dozens of clients charged with a wide variety of assault charges from simple assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and aggravated assault with a firearm. Assault can be charged when an individual intentionally and unlawfully threatens another person with violence either with words or acts. For assault to be properly charged, the defendant must have had the ability to carry out the act and most importantly, that the act or words created a well–founded fear in the mind of the victim that violence was about to take place. While simple assault is a first degree misdemeanor, other forms of assault can be charged as third and second degree felonies. While the majority of aggravated assault charges are third degree felonies, the crime can be elevated to a second degree felony dependent on the status of certain victims. Like battery charges, assault charges can often be found on a charging documents alleging domestic violence.

Simple Assault is the lowest level of assault that can be charged in criminal courts in the State of Florida. A simple assault will be charged when an individual intentionally and unlawfully threatens another with violence either through words or acts. Simple assault charges can be upgraded to felonies if the purported defendant uses a deadly weapon or commits the assault with a fully formed and conscious intention to commit certain crimes. A weapon is considered a "deadly weapon" if an object is used in a way that will likely produce great bodily harm or death. Examples of weapons are automobiles, knives, bats, and pellet guns. Although aggravated assault is a third degree felony, the charge can be upgraded to a second degree felony that carries up to 15 years in prison. Aggravated assault will be upgraded when victims such as police officers, firefighters and emergency rescue personnel are involved in the offense. If any of those individuals are the victim of an aggravated assault, a defendant will be charged with a second degree felony and will also face a 3 year minimum mandatory prison sentence. Aggravated assault with a firearm is also a third degree felony that carries the same minimum mandatory prison sentence.

Despite the severity of assault offenses, skilled Miami criminal defense lawyers at DMT are very effective in presenting valid defense to the prosecution that in most instances result in clients not doing any jail or prison time. While probation may be an alternative, DMT will strive to have the charges dropped or have the client enrolled in a pre–trial intervention program that will result in the charges being dropped in approximately six months.

The defenses to assault charges are essentially the same for the offenses of battery, felony battery and aggravated battery. The defenses self–defense and consent are applicable. Self–defense which is also called the justifiable use of force allows a person to defend themselves using non–deadly force. Individuals are also permitted to use non–deadly force to defend other individuals. Consent to an assault is another defense. When mutual combatants engage in a physical altercation, they are obviously consenting to an altercation and therefore no crime was committed. Conditional threats committed by a defendant promising to do threats in the future or if another event occurs will to amount to an assault. Also, if a victim did not actually believe the defendant would commit the act of violence or did not have a reasonable fear that the act would be committed the crime of assault did not occur.

If you are under investigation for, or have been arrested and charged with any assault offense, contact the Miami criminal lawyers at DMT. An experienced criminal attorney is available every day of the year, 24 hours a day to speak with you regarding your situation. Allow us the opportunity to help protect your rights and defend you case and you will not be disappointed. You can call our office at (305) 340-2197 or reach us by completing the form on our contact page or by sending an e–mail.