In Florida, assault is considered a crime of violence, a category of criminal offenses that includes things like armed robbery and carries some of the harshest penalties for a conviction. If you have been accused of assault, defending against the charges may be crucial to reaching a favorable outcome in a criminal case. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our St. Petersburg assault defense attorneys can advocate on your behalf and work to minimize the consequences of an assault charge. We have the knowledge to guide you through the proceedings and protect your interests.Florida Crime of Assault
Assault is generally defined as a credible threat of imminent violence against another person, made to create a well-founded fear in that person. In Florida, the criminal offense of assault requires proof of three elements. The prosecution will have the burden to establish all of the elements of assault beyond a reasonable doubt for a guilty verdict at trial. The first element is that the defendant made an intentional, unlawful threat to commit physical violence against a person. The threat may be communicated verbally or through the acts of the defendant. The intent required for an assault is the intent to act in a manner that is substantially certain to cause fear of imminent violence. It is not necessary that the defendant actually intended to carry out the violence.
The second element requires the prosecution to prove that at the time the threat was made, the defendant appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat. Third, the prosecution must show that this threat created a well-founded fear of imminent violence in the mind of the alleged victim. Usually, the third element also requires proof that the defendant made some overt act that was sufficient to produce a well-founded or reasonable fear of imminent violence in the alleged victim. A seasoned assault defense lawyer in St. Petersburg can assess whether the facts of your case are likely to meet the elements of the charges you are facing.
In Florida, a simple assault offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree. If you are convicted of simple assault, the penalties may include a jail sentence of up to 60 days, six months of probation, and/or a maximum fine of $500. These penalties may be enhanced if the defendant has a criminal history or prior convictions, or if there are aggravating factors involved in the case. For example, brandishing a knife or weapon while committing an assault may result in a more serious charge. If the victim was a firefighter, emergency medical care provider, or law enforcement officer, the penalties may also be increased.Defenses to a Criminal Assault Charge
Mounting a defense in a criminal assault case requires careful review of the facts and allegations, and a dedicated St. Petersburg assault defense attorney can help. If there is insufficient evidence of a crime, it may be difficult for the prosecution to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, a conditional threat of future violence may not be sufficient to establish that the alleged victim feared imminent violence. Self-defense may apply if the defendant threatened violence against someone they believed was causing or about to cause harm to themselves or another person. Other defenses may be that the defendant was falsely accused, the defendant lacked the intent to commit the assault, the defendant lacked the present, apparent ability to carry out the violence, and other arguments depending on the facts. A criminal defense attorney can advise you of any defenses that may be available in your specific case.Hire a St. Petersburg Defense Attorney for a Criminal Assault Case
If you have been arrested for assault or another crime of violence, retaining skilled legal counsel may help you to minimize or avoid criminal penalties. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our experienced St. Petersburg lawyers are committed to defending people who have been accused of domestic violence, theft crimes, weapons offenses, and other criminal offenses in Florida. We serve people in locations throughout Pinellas County, as well as Tampa Bay and Clearwater. Call Blake & Dorsten, P.A. at 727-286-6141 or contact us online and request a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our hardworking criminal defense lawyers.