Aggravated Assault Defense Attorney in Tampa, FL
Threatening to slug someone in a bar fight is ill-advised and, if you do something to further the threat (cock your fist, for example), it could land you in jail for a few hours or days on an assault conviction. But it will not put you behind bars for any great length of time, unlike its much more serious cousin, aggravated assault.
If you or a loved one are facing aggravated assault charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa, aggravated assault criminal defense lawyer, today.
Aggravated Assault: A Definition in Tampa, FL
The most basic kind of assault, known as simple assault, is defined in Florida as an intentional, unlawful threat to commit violence against another person, together with an apparent ability to carry out the threat and an act that creates a well-founded fear in the other person. Aggravated assault charges add another layer to this crime. To commit aggravated assault in Florida, an offender must commit simple assault using a deadly weapon or with intent to commit a separate felony. It the assault is committed with a deadly weapon, the offender must not have intended to kill the other person; otherwise, the crime qualifies as attempted murder. A common example of aggravated assault is the person who swings a knife or throws a bottle during a bar fight.
Aggravated Assault: Penalties in Tampa, FL
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony, generally punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. But enhanced sentences and mandatory minimum incarceration may apply, depending on a defendant’s prior record and a number of other factors. Florida uses a complex system to determine minimum sentences, and by itself, aggravated assault does not score high enough to qualify for mandatory incarceration. But convictions on additional charges, a prior felony record, and any injuries suffered by victims can each add enough points to require jail or prison time. An offender’s legal status — for example, if she was a prison inmate or a fugitive when the crime was committed — can also lead to or increase minimum sentences. If the aggravated assault is an act of domestic violence committed in the presence of a related child, mandatory minimums automatically apply, as they do if the aggravated assault benefits, promotes or furthers the interests of a criminal gang. The same is true of aggravated assaults committed in violation of probation or other supervision programs.
Aggravated Assault: Additional Penalties in Tampa, FL
Aggravated assault in Florida is subject to additional penalties under some circumstances. Aggravated assault involving a firearm carries a minimum three-year sentence and a maximum of 15. Aggravated assault against an on-duty police officer, law enforcement employee, corrections officer, firefighter, emergency medical provider, traffic officer, security guard, or public transit employee is a second-degree felony with a similar maximum penalty of 15 years, as is aggravated assault of an elderly person. The same is true of aggravated assault on the staff of a commitment facility for violent sex offenders, as well as aggravated assault on a school, sports, child welfare or health official; aggravated assault by a prison or jail inmate on a visitor or fellow inmate; aggravated assault on a code inspector; and aggravated assault committed on the grounds of a religious institution while the victim is on the property to participate in religious services.