Aggravated Assault Defense

Aggravated Assault Defense in Tampa, Florida

Types of Aggravated Assault Penalties In Tampa, Florida

 

Aggravated Assault in Florida

Aggravated Assault in Florida

What must the prosecutor prove in an Aggravated Assault case in Tampa, Florida?

According to Florida Statute § 784.021, to prove the crime of Aggravated Assault in Florida, the prosecutor must prove the following four things:

  1. The defendant intentionally threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to the victim;
  2. At the time the defendant appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat;
  3. The act of the defendant created in the mind of the victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place.
  4. The assault was made with a deadly weapon, or the assault was made with a fully formed, conscious intent to commit a felony upon the victim.

What are the maximum penalties in an Aggravated Assault in Tampa, Florida case?

An Aggravated Assault in Florida case is a third degree felony punishable by a maximum of:

  • A prison sentence of 5 years
  • A $5,000.00 fine
  • 5 years of probation

If during the commission of the aggravated assault in Florida the defendant used a firearm, upon conviction the judge must sentence the defendant to at least three years in prison.  If the defendant discharged the firearm during the commission of the aggravated assault, upon conviction the judge must sentence the defendant to at least 20 years in prison.

What does the term “deadly weapon” mean?

Under Florida Law, a weapon is a “deadly weapon” if it is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Florida Courts have found that large sticks, knives, and beer bottles are deadly weapons.  Florida Courts have found that mace sprayed into a victim’s mouth, and a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun and pointed a victim, are not deadly weapons.

Possible Defenses to an Aggravated Assault in Florida Charge:

  1. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law

Under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law a person is justified in threatening deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself, herself, or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

  1. Self Defense to an Aggravated Assault Charge

Even when a judge rules that the Florida Stand Your Ground Law does not apply in a case, a person accused of Aggravated Assault can still claim he or she acted in Self-Defense.

If a jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the judge, were to find that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether or not a person was justified in using an Aggravated Assault to protect himself or herself, then the jury or judge should find the person not guilty.

  1. Conditional Threats

In the case of Butler v. State, 632 So.2d 684 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994),a Florida court held that a conditional threat to do injury at some unspecified future time based upon a possible eventuality does not constitute an Assault.

For example, in the case of an aggravated assault imagine that Person A approached Person B in a parking lot and stated the following to Person B:  “If I ever see you around here again, I’ll hit you with a baseball bat.”  In this case, Person A’s threat is a conditional threat to do injury at some time in the future.  Therefore, there is no Aggravated Assault.

  1. No Fear of Imminent Harm

In the case of H.W. v. State, 79 So.3d 143 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2012), a student threatened a school administrator that something would happen to her “that day”.  The Court found that this threat was not sufficient for an Assault, because the threat of violence was not imminent.

Another example with respect to an Aggravated Assault would be if Person A approached Person B in a parking lot and stated the following to Person B:  “I’ll hit you with a baseball bat tomorrow night.” There is no Aggravated Assault as the threat of violence is not imminent.

  1. No Ability to Carry Out the Threat

In the case of L.R. v. State, 698 So.2d 915 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997), a juvenile threatened a victim with a knife.  However at the time of the threat, the juvenile and the victim were ten feet apart, and another person stood between the juvenile and the alleged victim.   The Court held that there was no aggravated assault because there was insufficient evidence that the alleged victim was fearful of imminent harm from the juvenile.

Another example would be if a police officer arrested, handcuffed, and placed an arrestee in the back of a patrol vehicle.  If the arrestee told the officer that he was going to hit him with a baseball bat, there would be no Aggravated Assault because the arrestee would not have the immediate ability to carry out the threat.

  1. The Witnesses are Lying

Witnesses and alleged victims often lie to law enforcement about the facts of a case.  For example, Attorney Hardy handled an aggravated assault case in which the alleged victim claimed that Attorney Hardy’s client was the aggressor.  However, Attorney Hardy conducted an investigation and discovered that a witness had called 911 during the incident.  Attorney Hardy obtained a copy of the 911.  On the 911 recording, the voice of the alleged victim could be heard repeatedly threatening Attorney Hardy’s client and demanding Attorney Hardy’s client come and fight him.   Attorney Hardy presented this evidence to the State Attorney’s Office and they dropped the case.

 

Aggravated Assault in Florida On An Emergency Medical Care Provider

Aggravated Assault in Florida On An Emergency Medical Care Provider

What must the prosecutor prove in an Aggravated Assault in Florida on an Emergency Medical Care Provider charge?

According to Florida Statute § 784.07, to prove the crime of Aggravated Assault in Tampa, Florida on an Emergency Medical Care Provider, the prosecutor must prove the following seventhings:

  1. The Defendant intentionally threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to the victim;
  2. At the time the Defendant appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat;
  3. The act of the Defendant created in the mind of the victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place;
  4. The Assault was made with a deadly weapon or the Assault was made with a fully formed, conscious intent to commit a felony upon the victim;
  5. The victim was at the time an Emergency Medical Care Provider;
  6. The Defendant knew that the victim was an Emergency Medical Care Provider;
  7. At the time of the assault, the victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties.

What does the term “deadly weapon” mean?

Under Florida Law, a weapon is a “deadly weapon” if it is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm.  Florida Courts have found that large sticks, knives, and beer bottles are deadly weapons.  Florida Courts have found that mace sprayed into a victim’s mouth, and a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun and pointed a victim, are not deadly weapons.

Who qualifies as an Emergency Medical Care Provider?

Florida Statute 784.07(1)(a) states, in part, that an “Emergency medical care provider” means an ambulance driver, emergency medical technician, paramedic, registered nurse, physician, medical director, or any person authorized by an emergency medical service who is engaged in the performance of his or her duties. The term “emergency medical care provider” also includes physicians, employees, agents, or volunteers of hospitals as defined in chapter 395, who are employed, under contract, or otherwise authorized by a hospital to perform duties directly associated with the care and treatment rendered by the hospital’s emergency department or the security thereof.

What are the maximum penalties in an Aggravated Assault in Tampa, Florida on an Emergency Medical Care Provider?

In Florida, an Aggravated Assault on an Emergency Medical Care Provider is a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum of:

  1. 15 years imprisonment
  2. A $10,000.00 fine
  3. 15 years of probation

Possible Defenses to an Aggravated Assault in Florida on an Emergency Medical Care Provider Charge:

  1. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law

Under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law a person is justified in threatening deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself, herself, or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

  1. Self Defense

Even when a judge rules that the Florida Stand Your Ground Law does not apply in a case, a person accused of Aggravated Assault on an Emergency Medical Care Provider can still claim he or she acted in Self-Defense.

If a jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the judge, were to find that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether or not a person was justified in using an Aggravated Assault an Emergency Medical Care Provider to protect himself or herself, then the jury or judge should find the person not guilty.

  1. The Victim Was Not Engaged in the Lawful Performance of His or Her Duties

In order for the State to bring a charge of Aggravated Assault on an Emergency Medical Care Provider, the victim must have been engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties at the time of the aggravated assault.

For example, imagine a paramedic is arriving to work at a hospital and the paramedic and Person B get in an argument over a parking spot.   Imagine further that Person B grabs a baseball bat out of his trunk and threatens to hit the paramedic.

Because at the time of the aggravated assault the paramedic was not engaged in the lawful performance of his duties, Person B can’t be convicted of Aggravated Assault on an Emergency Medical Care Provider.  However, it is possible that Person B could be still convicted of aggravated assault, a third degree felony that carries lesser potential penalties than Aggravated Assault on an Emergency Medical Care Provider.

  1. The State Must Prove That the Victim was an Emergency Medical Care Provider

In the case of Spurgeon v. State, 114 So.3d 1042 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013), the Defendant was charged with battery on an emergency medical care provider for spitting in the face of hospital security officer.  At trial, the State was required to prove that the hospital where the incident took place fit the legal definition of a hospital as laid out in Chapter 395 of the Florida Statutes.  Because at trial the State failed to prove the hospital fit this precise legal definition, the Court overturned the Defendant’s conviction.

 

Aggravated Assault in Florida On A Firefighter

Aggravated Assault in Florida On A Firefighter

What must the prosecutor prove in an Aggravated Assault ona Firefighter Charge?

According to Florida Statute § 784.07, to prove the crime of Aggravated Assault on a Firefighter, the prosecutor must prove the following seventhings:

  1. The defendant intentionally threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to the victim;
  2. At the time the defendant appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat;
  3. The act of the defendant created in the mind of the victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place;
  4. The Assault was made with a deadly weapon or the Assault was made with a fully formed, conscious intent to commit a felony upon the victim;
  5. The victim was at the time a Firefighter;
  6. The Defendant knew that the victim was a Firefighter;
  7. At the time of the assault, the victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties.

What does the term “deadly weapon” mean?

Under Florida Law, a weapon is a “deadly weapon” if it is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm.  Florida Courts have found that large sticks, knives, and beer bottles are deadly weapons.  Florida Courts have found that mace sprayed into a victim’s mouth, and a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun and pointed a victim, are not deadly weapons.

Who qualifies as a Firefighter?

Florida Statute 784.07(1)(b) states that a“Firefighter” means any person employed by any public employer of this state whose duty it is to extinguish fires; to protect life or property; or to enforce municipal, county, and state fire prevention codes, as well as any law pertaining to the prevention and control of fires.

What are the maximum penalties in an Aggravated Assault In Florida on Firefighter?

In Florida, an Aggravated Assault on Firefighter is a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum of:

  1. 15 years imprisonment
  2. A $10,000.00 fine
  3. 15 years of probation

Possible Defenses to an Assault on a Firefighter charge:

  1. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law

Under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law a person may commit an Aggravated Assault on a Firefighter when that person reasonably believes the Aggravated Assault on the Firefighter was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

  1. Self Defense

Even when a judge rules that the Florida Stand Your Ground Lawdoes not apply in a case, a person accused of Aggravated Assault on a Firefighter can still claim he or she acted in Self-Defense.

If a jury, or in the case of a bench trial, the judge, were to find that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether or not a person was justified in using an Aggravated Assault on a Firefighter to protect himself or herself, then the jury or judge should find the person not guilty.

  1. The Victim Was Not Engaged in the Lawful Performance of His or Her Duties

In order for the State to bring a charge of Assault on a Firefighter, the victim must have been engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties at the time of the assault.

For example, imagine a uniformed firefighter is on break and drives his car to a restaurant to get something to eat.Imagine further that the Firefighter and Person B get in an argument over a parking spot and that Person B grabs a bat out of his trunk and threatened to hit the firefighter.

Because at the time of the aggravated assault the firefighter was not engaged in the lawful performance of his duties, Person B can’t be convicted of Aggravated Assault on a firefighter.  However, it is possible that Person B could be still convicted of aggravated assault, a third degree felony that carries lesser potential penalties than Aggravated Assault on a firefighter.

 

Aggravated Assault in Florida On A Law Enforcement Officer

Aggravated Assault In Florida On A Law Enforcement Officer

What must the prosecutor prove in an Aggravated Assault in Florida on a Law Enforcement Officer charge?

According to Florida Statute § 784.07, to prove the crime of Aggravated Assault in, Tampa Florida on a Law Enforcement Officer, the prosecutor must prove the following seven things:

  1. The Defendant intentionally threatened, either by word or act, to do violence to the victim;
  2. At the time the Defendant appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat;
  3. The act of the Defendant created in the mind of the victim a well-founded fear that the violence was about to take place;
  4. The Assault was made with a deadly weapon or the Assault was made with a fully formed, conscious intent to commit a felony upon the victim;
  5. The victim was at the time a Law Enforcement Officer;
  6. The Defendant knew that the victim was a Law Enforcement Officer;
  7. At the time of the Assault, the victim was engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties.

What does the term “deadly weapon” mean?

Under Florida Law, a weapon is a “deadly weapon” if it is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm.  Florida Courts have found that large sticks, knives, and beer bottles are deadly weapons.  Florida Courts have found that mace sprayed into a victim’s mouth, and a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun and pointed a victim, are not deadly weapons.

What are the maximum penalties in an Aggravated Assault in Tampa, Florida on a Law Enforcement Officer charge?

In Florida, an Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer is a second-degree felony punishable by:

  1. A minimum mandatory of three 3 years imprisonment and a maximum of 15 years imprisonment.
  2. A $10,000.00 fine
  3. 15 years of probation

Possible Defenses to an Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer Charge:

  1. Self Defense to an Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer Charge

Under Florida law a person can’t use force to resist an arrest by a law enforcement officer, or to resist a law enforcement officer who is engaged in the execution of a legal duty, if the law enforcement officer was acting in good faith and he or she is known, or reasonably appears, to be a law enforcement officer.

However, if an officer uses excessive force to make an arrest, then a person is justified in the use of reasonable force to defend him or herself or another.

  1. No Fear of Imminent Harm

In the case of Sullivan v. State, 898 So.2d 105 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005), a defendant with a kitchen knife charged at two Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputies.   Before the knife-wielding defendant made the wise decision to stop and drop his knife, he charged within 15 feet of the first deputy.

However, the defendant came no closer than 30 feet to the second deputy and the second deputy had shielded himself behind a sheriff’s vehicle.  Also, between the second deputy and the defendant was the first deputy, who had a gun in his hand and was pointing it at the defendant.

Because in order to attack the second deputy the defendant would have had to cross 30 feet of open space, get by the first armed deputy and then get by the sheriff’s vehicle, the Court ruled that the second deputy was not the victim of an aggravated assault as it was unreasonable for him to have feared imminent harm.

  1. The Officer Was Not in the Execution of a Legal Duty

In the case of D.J.D. v. State, 143 So.2d 1115 (4th DCA 2014) a juvenile was refusing to obey his mother’s instructions to get into her car.  A police officer ordered the juvenile to follow his mother’s instructions and get in the car, but the juvenile refused and pushed the officer away.  The State charged the juvenile with Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.

The Court ruled that forcing a juvenile to obey his mother in not part of a police officer’s duty.  Therefore, the juvenile could not be convicted of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer.

Are you looking for the best Aggravated Assault lawyer in Tampa Florida? Contact Attorney David C. Hardy.

Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney David C. Hardy is a former prosecutor that now represents persons accused of aggravated assault.  He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy as an Expert in Criminal Trial Law. As a prosecutor and defense attorney, he has extensive experience handling aggravated assault cases.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for aggravated assault in Hillsborough County Florida, Pinellas County Florida, or Pasco County Florida, contact Attorney David C. Hardy. He has the knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through this process and obtain the best possible results.