Assault in Florida
Florida Statute 784.011
(1) An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
(2) Whoever commits an assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
How is a crime of assault determined?
An assault is simply a threat to do physical harm to someone. The crime of assault is a misdemeanor, but it can be upgraded to a felony charge depending upon how the threat is made. For example, if you point a firearm at someone’s head, that crime is a felony known as ‘aggravated assault with a firearm’. If you hold a knife to someone’s throat, it’s a felony ‘aggravated assault with a deadly weapon’.
In addition to the various upgrades that come about via the weapon of choice, a misdemeanor assault may also be enhanced if the threat is made against a protected person. Thus, a threat to do harm to a police officer will be charged as an ‘aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer’. Also, certain school employees and sports officials (referees, umpire, linesman) are part of this protected class that will upgrade your misdemeanor to a felony.
But there’s more to an assault than just how the threat was made, or who the threat was made against. A typical assault is made up of three elements. First, assault requires an intentional, unlawful threat. Second, there must be an apparent ability to carry out the threat, and third, the threat must create a well-founded fear that violence is imminent.
Seeking Legal Assistance for an Assault charge?
A conviction for assault can result in a prison sentence, a fine, and a seriously blemished criminal record. If you're charged with a crime as serious as assault, it's important to consult a criminal lawyer who's expertise is Florida law. An expert criminal defense attorney can explain Florida law to you and the possible outcomes for your case when it's heard in court. Wayne Richter, The Florida Criminal Defense Attorney, can assist you with protecting your legal rights and can help you achieve the best outcome possible in your case.