Anyone facing assault charges should contact an experienced criminal attorney immediately. You could be charged with assault even if no physical contact occurred, but a conviction would brand you as a violent criminal. Even if you believe this was all the result of a misunderstanding, do not take the charges lightly. Call an Avalon Park assault lawyer as soon as you can.
According to the definition in Florida Statute § 784.011, an assault means to create fear in someone that they are in danger of imminent physical harm. The alleged assailant must communicate a threat by words or actions and be able to make good on the threat immediately.
For example, if two people standing next to each other, and one makes a fist and says they are going to punch the other, that is an assault if the threat is believed and causes fear. If someone made the same statement over the telephone, it is not an assault, even if the person on the other end believed the person meant it.
Whether a statement or action is assault depends on whether the person making the action intends it as a threat, and whether the other person perceives it as threatening and fears imminent harm. All these elements are subjective, which provides opportunities for an Avalon Park assault defense attorney to defeat the charges.
Alleged assaults often arise because of misunderstandings or because the alleged victim wants to get the accused into trouble. One typical example is when co-parents in a custody dispute argue, and one party accuses the other of assault. The charge could influence the judge’s decision on custody even if the assault charge is dropped or never proved.
An Avalon Park assault attorney could speak with the defendant to learn whether the alleged victim has a motive to accuse them of a crime. If so, that information could persuade a prosecutor to drop or reduce charges. Even if the prosecution goes forward, the alleged victim’s reasons for making an assault accusation could weaken their credibility before a jury.
An assault charge requires intent—the accused must have meant to threaten the alleged victim and make them fearful. There was no intent if the accused was making a bad joke. Lack of intent can be an effective defense. It requires the prosecutor to find circumstantial evidence of the accused’s intent.
Assault can only occur if the alleged victim reasonably fears the accused will harm them. If a reasonable person would have understood the accused was joking or venting, and would not carry out a threat, the accused did not commit an assault.
Depending on the circumstances, multiple other defenses for assault are possible. A legal professional could seek to suppress evidence or dismiss a charge if the police did not follow proper procedures and violated the accused’s rights. Sometimes the individual identifies the wrong person as their assailant, and an attorney could raise a defense of mistaken identity or alibi.
A simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor carrying a potential penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. However, a conviction for assault marks the offender as a violent criminal, limiting their future employment, housing, and credit opportunities, and could impact child custody matters.
An Avalon Park assault attorney could work to avoid this result. If the accused is a first offender, prosecutors are often willing to allow a plea to another offense without such grave consequences. A prosecutor might accept an agreement to perform community service or engage in an anger management program in exchange for a reduced or dropped charge. Alternatively, a formal pretrial diversion program might be an option if the incident involved drugs or alcohol.
Resolving assault charges often includes an order to stay away from the alleged victim or avoid harassing communication with them. Failing to comply with these orders is a separate offense that could be punishable by up to one year in jail.
People sometimes assume they can handle a simple assault charge without experienced legal help, especially when no physical contact occurred. In fact, an assault conviction carries significant consequences.
An Avalon Park assault lawyer could help you achieve the most favorable outcome possible under the circumstances. Call The Umansky Law Firm as soon as you are arrested.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys