Hollywood Aggravated Assault Defense Attorneys
At Magilligan Law, we know that facing any type of criminal charge is scary, and we take your case seriously. Without a strong defense, you could face severe penalties, including jail time, and we’re here to help you fight back against aggravated assault charges. Call our Hollywood, Florida, office today to speak to a member of our team and find out how to schedule a free 15-minute case evaluation.
What Is the Legal Definition of Aggravated Assault?
According to Florida statute 784.021, aggravated assault is defined as “an assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill or with an intent to commit a felony.” It’s a common misconception that hitting someone or otherwise causing them physical harm is assault, but this would actually be a battery charge. Instead, assault charges stem from the intention to harm someone or cause them to fear for their safety. It’s possible to be charged with both assault and battery, as prosecutors will sometimes charge both aspects of the alleged crime: the intention and the physical act. If you’ve been charged with both, it means you can also be convicted and potentially sentenced for both crimes, so it’s important to discuss your charges with an attorney to ensure you understand what’s at stake.
How Is Aggravated Assault Different From Simple Assault?
There are various kinds of assault charges, ranging from simple assault — which is the least serious — to aggravated assault and sexual assault. The main difference between simple assault and aggravated assault is the intensity of the events of the alleged crime. For example, if you were to try to hit someone and miss, that is likely to be a simple assault charge. If you had a knife and tried to stab someone and missed, that would likely result in aggravated assault charges due to having the weapon. Keep in mind that the legal definition of a weapon can be incredibly broad and include everything from guns and knives to a car or stick.
Assault charges can also be upgraded to aggravated assault if the assault included an attempt to commit a felony. For example, if the alleged assault occurred in an attempt to burglarize a house, that could be aggravated assault because burglary is a felony in the state of Florida.
Are There Maximum or Minimum Sentences in Florida for Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony in the state of Florida, which means the potential penalties can be substantial if you’re convicted. Third-degree felonies carry a potential penalty of up to $5,000 in Florida, and you may also have to pay additional fees and court costs. The potential jail time for aggravated assault is usually up to 5 years, but there are exacerbating circumstances that can significantly lengthen this. For example, if a gun went off during the incident, this could dramatically increase the potential prison time. In some situations, a past criminal record can also be a factor because Florida allows for more severe penalties if you are labeled a habitual offender.
What Are My Defense Options?
After hearing about your case and getting information on what happened, one of the first things your attorney will discuss with you is your defense options. Because aggravated assault requires intent, this is often an aspect that a defense attorney will try to argue. If you lacked the capacity to understand what you were doing or otherwise didn’t have the intent to harm or cause fear, you can’t have committed aggravated assault.
Another option is to argue that you were acting in defense of yourself, your property, or someone else. You have the right and ability to protect yourself. If the other party was threatening you in some way or you had a reasonable belief that they were going to harm you, self-defense could be an option. You also have the right to protect your property. This means if someone comes onto your property and is threatening to harm you or steal things, you can use appropriate force and action to protect your property.
In some cases, the best defense strategy isn’t to try to argue against the charges but to try to strike a deal for a lesser charge. Whether this is an option to consider depends on the circumstances surrounding your case, but it may be one your attorney discusses with you. In some cases, this may help you avoid a felony conviction by pleading the charges down to a misdemeanor.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Arrested for Aggravated Assault?
If you’ve been arrested and charged with aggravated assault, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It’s important not to talk to the police or answer any questions with a lawyer present to ensure that you understand your rights and don’t further incriminate yourself. Keep in mind that officers are allowed to lie to you, including telling you they have evidence they don’t actually have, to get you to confess or provide incriminating information. Only having an attorney present ensures that you have legal counsel who is there to protect your rights and help you fight your charges.
Call Our Hollywood Aggravated Assault Defense Attorneys Today
When you’re dealing with the Broward County criminal justice system, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side who is able to fight for your rights and protect your interests. At Magilligan Law, our team puts our years of experience working in the court system and our extensive knowledge of criminal law to work for you. If you’ve been arrested for aggravated assault or are facing other criminal charges, call our office today at 954-866-8058 to schedule a free 15-minute case evaluation to find out how our firm can help.