In Florida, assault is an intentional and unlawful threat against another person. The charge of assault can come with heavy legal penalties. Legal consequences include heavy fines, possible probation, and potential jail time. An assault conviction can change a person’s personal and professional life.

Assault charges can be difficult to defend. Normally investigations rely heavily on testimony and possible eyewitnesses. Having a practiced attorney on your side can greatly raise the chances of getting reduced charges or dismissal. An attorney can file motions, suppress evidence, and cross-examine witnesses for you.

Fort Pierce Attorney for Assault Charges in Florida

Have you been arrested for assault or aggravated assault in St. Lucie County or Martin County area? It is highly advised that you remain silent with law enforcement. Additionally, it is recommended that you seek a skilled criminal defense attorney before you proceed any further.

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell represent those accused of assault and battery in the Treasure Coast area. Meltzer & Bell has over 20 years of experience in Florida’s criminal court. We are up to date on all current Florida legislation and are active in the legal community. Our attorneys have a passion for criminal defense. We want to evaluate all your possible legal options to get you a desired result.

Meltzer & Bell practices law throughout the 19th Judicial Circuit of Florida and nearby areas including Port St. Lucie, Jupiter Island, Stuart, and Fort Pierce.

Dial us today at (772) 291-2534, or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation.

Overview for Assault Offenses in Florida

Definition of Assault under Florida Law

Florida Statute § 784.011 states the actions a person must fulfill to be convicted of assault. A prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a person of assault:

  • The alleged offender unlawfully and intentionally threatened, by act or word, to do violence to the alleged victim;
  • During the commission of the threat, the alleged offender appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat; and
  • The actions of the alleged offender created, in the mind of the alleged victim, a reasonable fear that the threatened violence is imminent.

Some interchange the terms battery and assault, however this is incorrect. Assault is a threat to commit a kind of violent act. Where as, battery is when a person successfully completes a violent act. Attempted battery is when a person tries to commit a violent act, but is unsuccessful.

Penalties for Assault Charges in Florida

The offense of assault has significant legal consequences. In Florida, the crime of assault is a second degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a second degree misdemeanor include a maximum jail time for up to 60 days, possible probation for up to 6 months, and a potential $500 fine.

Assault charges can be enhanced based on who the alleged victim is. If a person commits the act of assault to any of the following types of public servants, the penalties will be elevated.

  • Firefighter;
  • Law Enforcement Officer; or
  • Emergency Medical Provider

If the victim is a part of any of the above professions, the assault charge will be reclassified as a first degree misdemeanor. The legal consequences include a maximum of 60 days in jail, and a fine of up to $500.

Florida Felony Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault penalties can be enhanced to a felony. Florida Statute § 784.021 states that the prosecution must prove all elements of assault and the following additional actions for the offense to be elevated.

  • The assault was made with a fully-formed, conscious intent to commit the crime upon the alleged victim;
  • The assault was committed with the intent to commit a felony.

A felony charge for aggravated assault is a third degree felony. A third degree felony has a maximum prison sentence of five years, and a possible $5,000 fine.

Possible Defenses for Assault in Florida

Assault cases can be incredibly complicated and the penalties are daunting. However, if you are working in tandem with a skilled attorney you can formulate a strong defense. The following are some defenses that may be used in court to combat assault charges.

  • Conditional Threat – If a person gives out a conditional threat, that is not considered assault. A conditional threat is where the violent act is at some unspecified point in the future.
  • Unreasonable Fear – If the alleged victim was taunting the defendant, or actually never believed that a threat was imminent, the act is not considered assault in court.
  • Idle Threat – An idle threat is a threat that is unaccompanied by any physical act, that justifies a belief that the person will actually follow through with the threat. Idle threats are not considered assault in a court of law.

Additional Resources

Florida Partnership to End Domestic Violence – Visit the official website for the organization called Florida Partnership to End Domestic Violence (FPEDV). The mission of FPEDV is to create a violence free world by empowering women and children through the elimination of personal and institutional violence.

Florida Assault Charges – Visit the official website for Florida legislation. Find the statutory language for assault, battery, and culpable negligence offenses in Florida. Learn more regarding the charge elements, penalties, and any kind of defenses that are admissible in court.

Lawyer for Assault in Port St. Lucie, Florida

The Florida justice system can be very intimidating. Forms, hearings, and the efforts of the prosecution can overwhelm any individual. Having an attorney can help you explore your legal options for your charges. Get in contact with a skilled criminal defense attorney today at Meltzer & Bell.

Meltzer & Bell is a group of established and practiced criminal defense attorneys. We have over twenty years of combined experience of defending those accused of crimes. Our attorneys strive to create efficient and effective defenses for our clients. Find an attorney who is knowledgeable about Florida’s criminal courts.

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell practice law throughout St. Lucie County and Martin County including Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Ocean Breeze, Stuart, and Jupiter Island.

Dial us today at (772) 291-2534, or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation.

This article was last updated on September 5, 2018.