If you are charged with aggravated assault, you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, such as a gun, knife or other weapon without the intent to kill or with intent to commit a felony. An assault is an intentional and unlawful threat – either by word or by actions – to commit violence against another person.
“You must have the ability to carry through on your threat and the act must put the person in fear that the violence you threaten is imminent.” – William Moore
Aggravated assault qualifies as a third degree felony, which is punishable with up to five years of imprisonment. If this is not your first aggravated assault charge, you may be deemed a habitual offender, earning yourself a prison term of up to 10 years, and you will not be eligible for release for five years.
If you have committed aggravated assault within three years of release in the State of Florida or any other state, the District of Columbia, any territory of the United States or any foreign jurisdiction, you may be considered a “prison releasee reoffender.” You may also be considered a prison releasee reoffender if you commit aggravated assault while serving a prison term or if you escaped from a correctional facility. You may be sentenced for a mandatory sentence time of five years. If you have been arrested, contact an Assault and Battery Lawyer.
Arrested for Aggravated Assault?
An act of assault may be termed as aggravated assault depending on various factors such as the involvement of a weapon during the assault, the identity of the victim, the intent and motive of the assaulter, and the extent of injury caused.
An assault that may take place within a home may also be treated as aggravated assault, depending on other factors. A simple assault may be treated as a misdemeanor, where as an aggravated assault may qualify as a felony. Varying degrees of criminal charges may apply in case of aggravated assault. Those charged with aggravated assault should get in touch with a criminal defense attorney to learn more about the options available to them.
Involvement of a Dangerous Weapon
If an act of assault involves the use of a dangerous weapon, it will be termed as aggravated assault. This is irrespective of the fact whether the weapon actually caused personal injury to any individual or not. Just because someone brandishes a weapon at you but did not point it or verbally threaten you, they should and could still be held liable for their insinuations or apparent threat.
Under the law, actual physical injury is not necessary for an act to qualify as an assault. If an individual has acted with the intent of subjecting someone to a fear for their safety, it can qualify as a basic assault. When such a threat involves a dangerous weapon, it is termed as aggravated assault because the victim’s fear is greater in such a case.
A weapon may be viewed as a dangerous or deadly if it may have a reasonable capacity to cause grievous injury or death. Guns are a typical example of a dangerous or a deadly weapon. An object may qualify as a deadly weapon depending upon how it was used in carrying out the assault. For instance, a pocket knife may not qualify as a deadly weapon under ordinary circumstances. However, if the same knife is held to the neck of the victim, it may be termed as a deadly weapon, and the assault will be treated as an aggravated assault. Victims generally seek assistance from the State Attorney’s Office as well as the police department in such situations.
Sometimes an assault may qualify as an aggravated assault considering the position and identity of the victim. For instance, under many state laws, any incident of assault on a member of the police force, a fire fighter, or even a teacher may be viewed as an aggravated assault. However, to qualify as an aggravated assault, it must occur at a time when the victim was trying to perform their duty and the assaulter was aware of the status of the victim.
In some situations, the victim’s identity may bring upon another charge of a hate crime in addition to aggravated assault if the assault was motivated by the nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or disability of the victim.
In some cases, the intent or the state of mind of the assaulter may become sufficient grounds for a simple assault to be treated as an aggravated assault. If the perpetrator acted with an aim to harm the victim severely, or cause the fear of severe harm to the victim, it may constitute an act of aggravated assault. If the perpetrator acts with a complete disregard or value for human life and commits an act of recklessness that endangers others, it may be treated in some states as an aggravated assault, even if the act was not intended to harm anyone in particular.
Extent of Physical Injury
If the victim’s injury is severe, it may be treated as a case of aggravated assault under the law. Serious bodily injuries are usually considered aggravated assaults under most state laws. The definition of a serious injury may vary from one case to another. An injury that results in a permanent disability or disfigurement of the victim, or that threatens to cause death, will be typically termed as serious physical injuries.
Our Criminal Law Firm maintains offices in Fort Lauderdale and Broward.