A violent crime offense carries severe penalties in Florida. Most violent crimes are charged as felonies. A felony charge can result in large fines and a possible prison sentence. In addition, public outcry against violent behavior pushes law enforcement to aggressively pursue violent crimes.
Any person, who has been accused of a violent crime, should seek legal representation immediately. Jurors are often more likely to convict if person is injured or threatened. This is why it is important that you have trusted legal counsel on your side. A skilled attorney can make motions to suppress unreliable witnesses, uncover exculpatory evidence, and present complex self-defense claims.
Attorneys for Violent Crimes in Fort Pierce, FL
Have you been accused of a violent crime? Are you currently undergoing an investigation or awaiting a court date? Protect yourself with an attorney who is practiced and strategic. Stay ahead of the prosecutors. Call an experienced defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell.
Meltzer & Bell is a group of distinguished attorneys who specialize in criminal defense. We are experienced in defending clients charged with serious felony and violent misdemeanor offenses. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell value both honesty and persistence in our work. We will walk you through every step of the legal process. In addition, we will investigate all aspects of your case to uncover the best legal option.
Speak to an attorney who puts you first. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell represent those charged with violent crimes throughout the greater Martin County and St. Lucie County area and nearby communities including Jupiter Island, Stuart, Fort Pierce, Port. St. Lucie and Ocean Breeze.
Contact the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell by (772) 291-2534, or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation today.
Overview for Violent Crimes in Florida
Violent crime is an umbrella term for numerous types of criminal offenses. According to Florida law, a crime of violence is an accusation that a person used violence or threatened to use violence on an alleged victim. If a weapon is involved, the penalties are generally more serious.
The following are different kinds of charges that are commonly prosecuted as a violent crime in Florida:
- Aggravated battery on a pregnant female;
- Battery and aggravated battery;
- Assault or aggravated assault;
- Battery by strangulation;
- Abuse of an elderly or disabled person;
- Making a written threat to kill;
- Battery on a law enforcement officer;
- Domestic violence;
- Resisting an officer;
- Child abuse; or
- False imprisonment;
Aggravating factors can elevate the penalties for these offenses. Some factors that enhance penalties include if the crime is classified as a hate crime, if a weapon or firearm was used during the offense, or if the alleged victim was injured.
A Uniform Crime Report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlines various crimes committed in the United States. Included in these statistics are the trends of “violent crimes” over the last 19 years. The four different categories of crime listed in this report as a violent crime includes
- Aggravated assault;
- Forcible rape;
- Robbery; and
- Murder and non-negligent manslaughter
According to the statistics, aggravated assault accounted for the most common violent crime in the United States. In fact, 62.4 percent of reported crimes were for aggravated assaults in 2011. Additionally, most crime rates have fallen according to the FBI’s data. However, murder and non-negligent manslaughter has maintained similar numbers over the last two years.
A common offense that is considered a violent crime is to resist an officer with violence. According to § 843.02, those charged with resisting an officer will face misdemeanor charges. The following are elements a person must fulfill to be charged with resisting an officer with violence.
- The defendant either obstructed, resisted, or opposed the victim;
- The victim, at the time of the obstruction, resistance, or obstruction, must be engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty;
- The alleged victim was a police officer; and
- The defendant must know that the victim was a police officer.
Under Florida law, your crime may be enhanced depending on who it was committed against. Assault or battery offenses against certain individuals can elevate the penalties for your crime. The following are some types of people that can reclassify your offense to a violent crime.
- Law enforcement officers;
- Peace officer;
- Emergency medical care providers; and
- First responders
Florida Statute § 784.07(2) states that if a person commits assault or battery on any of the above professionals, he or she will have their offense reclassified. The crimes would be reclassified as follows:
- A battery is reclassified from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree;
- An assault is reclassified from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a misdemeanor of the first degree;
- An aggravated battery is reclassified from a felony of the second degree to a felony of the first degree (notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person convicted of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of five years); and
- An aggravated assault is reclassified from a felony of the third degree to a felony of the second degree (notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person convicted of aggravated assault upon a law enforcement officer shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of three years).
Reclassifying an offense will most likely increase the maximum sentencing that can be imposed on the alleged offender. Penalties for these reassigned offenses are dependent on the degree of the misdemeanor or felony.
FBI Uniform Crime Report – Visit the official website for the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Find more information regarding the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. The program is a collective of nationwide crime statistics for four violent crimes, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault.
Jury Instructions – Visit the official website for the Florida Supreme Court. Find more information regarding Standard Jury Instructions for criminal cases. Use this site to find more information on violent crimes, learn their adjoining penalties, and what may be considered to be a valid defense in court.
Lawyers for Violent Crimes in Port St. Lucie, FL
Violent crimes carry a negative social stigma and heavy penalties. It can sometimes be overwhelming handling the legalities of Florida’s criminal procedure. This is why it is important that you protect your freedom today. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell are practiced in the realm of criminal courts in Florida.
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell skillfully and aggressively defend their clients in the courtroom. Meltzer & Bell has over 20 years of collective experience defending those accused of violent crimes. We can explain the charges pending against you, possible sentencing, and what defenses may reduce or dismiss your charges. Let us help preserve your civil rights. Contact a defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell today.
Meltzer & Bell accept clients throughout the greater Treasure Coast area and surrounding communities including Stuart, Jupiter Island, Port St. Lucie, and Fort Pierce.
Call (772) 291-2534, or simply submit an online contact form to schedule your free consultation today.
This article was last updated on September 5, 2018.