It only takes a moment for an interaction to get heated, and the next thing you know, you might be under arrest for assault. Although you might feel that the incident was minor and did no real harm, assault is a charge with very serious consequences. If you were arrested for assault, get professional help from a qualified defense attorney immediately.
Assault is considered a violent crime, so you must take it seriously. A Clermont assault lawyer could use their skills and experience in the local criminal court system to achieve the best outcome that the circumstances allow.
Florida Statutes § 784.001 explains what is considered assault. Even though the law treats assault as a violent crime, a person could face an assault charge even if there was no physical contact with the alleged victim. A person commits an assault if they make a threat toward someone else, can carry out the threat, and the threat creates fear in the alleged victim. The assailant need not intend to commit violence; they need only intend to threaten violence.
For example, if two people are standing next to each other and one makes a choking motion with their hands and the other person is afraid they might get strangled, the person who made the gesture has committed assault. However, if the people are across the street from each other, the gesture might not necessarily be considered an assault.
A conviction for assault leaves the offender with a record as a violent criminal, which could mean harsher sentences for subsequent offenses. Even if the person never has another run-in with the law, a record as a violent criminal could lead to fewer opportunities for employment, housing, education, and credit. Working with a Clermont assault attorney could help an accused avoid that stigma.
Like most crimes, the severity of assault charges will depend on several factors.
Simple assault is usually the charge if the assault did not involve a weapon or result in physical injury to the alleged victim. This charge is usually a second-degree misdemeanor, and a conviction could lead to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Committing an assault while committing another felony, or with the intent to commit a felony, is aggravated assault. It is an aggravated assault if someone commits an assault while armed with a deadly weapon, even if the person does not use or brandish the weapon.
Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony. The sentence could be up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. Even first offenders could face jail time. If the alleged offender possessed a firearm during the assault, jail time is likely. Enhanced prison sentences could apply if a gun discharged during the assault, and an offender might face up to 20 years. It is important to consult with an assault lawyer in Clermont when these severe penalties are on the line.
The state enhances the severity of charges when the alleged victim is a public official such as a police officer, EMS worker, parking enforcement officer, campus security guard, Fish and Game official, bus driver, or another public employee. A charge that would be a second-degree misdemeanor becomes a first-degree misdemeanor, and a third-degree felony becomes a second-degree felony. Aggravated assault on a public officer carries a minimum three-year prison term.
Protecting an accused person’s rights is one of the most important jobs of a criminal justice attorney. They could ensure that the police do not trick a suspect into providing incriminating information. A legal professional will carefully review the police reports and evidence and try to suppress evidence the police might have obtained illegally.
Many assault cases happen because the alleged victim has a grudge against the alleged perpetrator. They might lie or exaggerate to create problems for the suspect—this often happens in divorce and child custody disputes. A Clermont attorney could challenge the alleged victim’s account and expose their true motives.
Sometimes a plea bargain is the best result for the alleged offender. It could be possible to resolve a case in a way that allows the offender to emerge without a label as a violent criminal.
Although the incident that led to an assault charge might seem trivial, the consequences are serious. Do not assume you can handle an assault charge without a skilled professional’s help.
A Clermont assault lawyer strives to achieve the best results the evidence allows. Protect yourself by contacting Umansky Law as soon as you can.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys