Florida’s legal definition of assault is, “an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.”
When someone makes the threat of bodily harm to another person, and has the apparent and present ability to cause that harm, it may be considered assault and could result in civil or criminal liability.
If you are charged with assault, speak to a lawyer at Khonsari Law Group and learn if we may be able to help you. Our team of legal professionals is dedicated to giving our clients the very strongest defense, and working for the best possible outcome in every case. Contact our office at (727) 269-5300 or online to schedule a free consultation.
Assault Case Examples
Assault cases involving celebrities commonly make the news. Infamously, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Chris Brown was arrested in 2009 for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna. The couple had argued, and Brown subsequently acted in a threatening and harmful manner. Brown pled guilty to one count of assault with the intent of doing great bodily injury, and was sentenced to 180 days of community service and five years of probation.
Best known for her acting on television and in films during the 1950s and 1960s, Zsa Zsa Gabor stood out among beautiful celebrities with her distinctive Hungarian accent. Gabor made headlines in 1989 when she slapped a police officer after he had stopped her for a driving violation. The officer arrested Gabor for assault. She received probation, but spent three days in jail after violating its terms.
In November 2018, a 40-year-old man suffered injuries after actor Alec Baldwin allegedly punched him during an argument over a New York City parking space. Police arrested Baldwin for harassment and assault. This case remains unresolved, and Baldwin’s court date is not known.
Assault may be criminally charged or claimed in a civil case. Common examples of criminal assault include:
- Battery. Under Florida law, battery requires physically touching another person, usually with force.
- Aggravated assault. A person who threatens the use of a deadly weapon, even without the intention to kill, commits aggravated assault. In Tampa, 1,219 aggravated assaults took place in 2017.
- Aggravated battery. When significant bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement occurs; a deadly weapon is present, or the offender knew the victim was pregnant at the time of the assault, it may be aggravated battery.
Common Defenses for Assault
It is not unusual for a person who is angry or feels threatened to become overwrought or caught up in the “heat of the moment.” However, impulsive or reactive decisions made under such circumstances have the potential to lead to dire consequences. The lawyers at Khonsari Law Group are experienced in assault cases, and understand how the facts should inform the individual defense plans of our clients. Common defenses for assault cases may include:
- Self-defense. If the person claiming to have been assaulted initiated the fight, or responded to an act of aggression with a stronger degree of force, a self-defense claim may be made. Self-defense may also be claimed where the person charged with assault had walked away from the encounter but was pursued by the other party.
- Stand your ground law. Under Florida law, in certain specific circumstances, a person may not have to first retreat before defending themselves.
- Defense of others. If the person accused of assault was attempting to protect another person, and was not at fault in the events giving rise to the charges or claim, they may have a viable defense.
- Defense of property. Individuals may use reasonable force to protect their property, particularly if they are defending their home.
Consequences of Assault in Florida
Under Florida law, as in other states, violent crimes have the most severe penalties. While outcomes are determined by the facts of the case, standard sentences for assault convictions include:
- Second degree misdemeanor assault. As much as 60 days in jail, and up to a $500 fine.
- Third degree felony aggravated assault. Up to five years in prison, and up to a $5,000 fine.
- First degree misdemeanor battery. As much as one year in prison, and up to a $1,000 fine.
- Second degree felony aggravated assault. Up to 15 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.
Your Tampa Assault Defense Attorney
If you are charged with assault in Tampa, speak to a defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact Khonsari Law Group at (727) 269-5300 or online today, and learn if we may be able to help you.