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Assault Charges in Florida: Orlando Assault Attorney

In a heated argument, things can quickly get out of control. If in this situation you make physical or verbal threats, you may be charged with assault in Florida. To ensure that your best interests and rights are protected, you should contact an Orlando assault attorney. 

In 2020, there were 9,434 arrests for simple assault in the Orlando Metropolitan Area, which makes this offense the most common type of violent crime. But, despite how common this crime is, assault charges in Florida can lead to severe consequences. 

The following sections contain key information about assault offenses:

  • Definitions & Elements of Assault
  • Sentencing for Assault Charges
    • Statute of limitations
  • How Can an Orlando Assault Attorney Help You

If you or a relative have been charged with assault, you should speak with an Orlando criminal defense lawyer near you. Z. Hernandez Law represents clients in Orange, Lake, Osceola, and Seminole County. If you were charged in any of these locations, we might be able to help. Get in touch through our contact form or call (407) 900-8490 to book a consultation. 

What Qualifies as Assault in Florida?

Florida Statutes Section 784.011 defines assault as a threat to harm another person, having the ability to execute such a threat, and, as a result, causing fear of imminent violence to the victim. Simple assaults in Florida are second-degree misdemeanors. 

Unlike a battery offense in Florida, touching the alleged victim is not an element of assault. In other words, assault occurs when there is an intentional verbal or physical threat to injure a person. However, a threat alone is not enough to prove the charge. 

As the jury instructions point out, the prosecution must prove that, at the moment of the offense, the defendant must have done something that showed that they were able to carry out that threat. And because of this, the victim feared a violent act would happen. 

Take this situation as an example. John and Mark are having a heated argument over the phone, and John threatens to punch Mark. However, John cannot carry this threat out because he is not in the same city as Mark. If, instead, they were face to face and John feinted a punch to Mark’s face, he could be charged with assault.

Simple Assault vs Aggravated Assault 

In Florida, simple assault takes place with a verbal or physical threat. However, this charge can escalate to aggravated assault if you use a deadly weapon (pointing a gun at someone) or assault someone to commit a felony (such as robbery or burglary). 

At Z. Hernandez Law, we have experience representing clients facing simple or aggravated assault charges. If you were accused of assaulting someone and are located in the Orlando Metropolitan Area, contact us to schedule an appointment. 

Penalties for Assault in Florida 

A simple assault offense in Florida is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. However, these charges can be enhanced depending on:

  • The type of victim.
  • Whether the assault occurred in furtherance of a riot
  • The use of a deadly weapon. 
  • The intention to commit a felony. 

Below is a table with the most common assault charges in Florida and their corresponding penalties:

OffenseType of ChargeMaximum FineMaximum Imprisonment
Simple assault2nd-degree misdemeanor$50060 days
Simple assault in furtherance of a riot1st-degree misdemeanor$1,0001 year
Simple assault on special victims1st-degree misdemeanor$1,0001 year
Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon3rd-degree felony$5,0005 years
Aggravated assault on special victims 2nd-degree felony$10,00015 years

According to Florida Statutes Chapter 784, these “special victims” include, but are not limited to:

  • Elderly people.
  • Law enforcement officers.
  • Firefighters. 
  • Public transit employee.
  • Emergency medical care provider. 
  • Railroad special officer. 
  • Traffic infraction enforcement specialist.
  • Sports official.
  • Commitment facility staff.  
  • Code inspectors.
  • People detained in a prison, jail, or detention facility.

In addition to these penalties, offenders may also be sentenced to serve a mandatory minimum sentence, pay restitution to the victim, and complete community work. If you are unsure of what your charges involve, you should seek the help of an assault lawyer near you. 

Statute of limitations for assault in Florida

In Florida, the statute of limitations for assault depends on the type of charge. Simple assaults must be pursued within one year or two years if the victim was an elderly or another special victim. Aggravated assaults charged as 3rd-degree and 2nd-degree felonies have a statute of limitation of 3 and 4 years, respectively. 

If the prosecution did not pursue your case within these time frames, they might not be able to bring a criminal case against you. 

How Can a Florida Assault Attorney Help 

When preparing your defense against an assault charge, you need to consider a significant number of factors. Dealing with legislation and the criminal justice system can be overwhelming and confusing if you are unfamiliar with them. 

At Z. Hernandez law, we understand what you are going through. We also know that an effective defense can play a decisive role in obtaining a positive outcome. Some of the defenses that we may be able to use in your case include, but are not limited to:

  • Lack of evidence to prove that the alleged victim was placed in fear. 
  • The victim provoked the alleged offender. 
  • Self-defense or defense of others. 
  • Lack of evidence to prove that the defender was able to carry out the threat. 
  • The actions were unintentional. 
  • The accusations are false. 

Charged with Assault? Speak to an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney

A criminal charge for has many moving pieces and Florida law is tough on violent crimes. However, if you are not familiar with the law, you may say or do something detrimental to your case. A Florida assault attorney with experience with these types of offenses can help you prepare a strong defense.

Z. Hernandez Law firm serves clients facing criminal charges in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Lake Counties. If you have been charged with assault in Orlando, call (407) 900-8490 to book a consultation. We are ready to fight the good fight and protect your freedom and your rights. 

Legal information reviewed by:
Zarina Hernandez | Founder & Attorney

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