What Is Considered Assault in Florida?

Assault is the intentional and unlawful threat or act of violence one person exercises over another. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, an assault can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.

There are two types of assault in Florida: simple and aggravated.

Simple Assault

A simple assault is when a person makes a threat of violence against another person and:

  • could carry out the threat of violence; and/or
  • commits an act which creates fear in the other person.

In addition to intent, the accused must have engaged in an obvious act of violence that confirms the alleged victim’s allegations of assault. For example, if someone threatens excessive violence against another person, they cannot be convicted of assault unless they committed an overt action to back up the threat.

The penalties for a simple assault conviction are imprisonment in a jail for up to 60 days and/or a fine up to $500.

Aggravated Assault

An aggravated assault is when someone uses a weapon to harm another. Someone could be charged with this in addition to another crime if they assaulted someone with a weapon while committing a different crime.

An aggravated assault is a 3rd degree felony and could lead to the penalties of imprisonment for up to 5 years, probation for 5 year, and/or a fine that does not exceed $5,000.

If a person commits assault with a firearm, they could receive a mandatory prison sentence of 3 years.

Possible Assault Defenses

Florida courts take accusations of assault very seriously. Common defenses against allegations of assault include:

Conditional Threat

A conditional threat is a statement that establishes a threat of violence that could take place at an unspecified point in time. For example, someone saying “I’ll hurt you if you ever do this again.” A defense could be made that a statement such as this is the result of an intense emotional reaction and the alleged aggressor may not mean what they say.

Idle Threat

An idle threat is a threat unaccompanied by an action that would give anyone reason to believe the accused would follow through with it. For example, if the accused offhandedly mentioned they would like to harm the alleged victim, but there is no proof that the accused would actually harm them, they can’t be convicted of assault.

Unreasonable Fear

This defense can be made if, after the alleged aggressor made a threat of violence, the alleged victim made a retaliatory threat or mocked the other party. This illustrates the alleged victim was not truly afraid of the alleged aggressor’s actions.

Providing Aggressive Representation

At Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A., our assault defense attorneys will do everything we can to fight for your rights. We will relentlessly pursue the best outcome for your assault charges.

Call our firm today at (727) 245-9009 or contact us online for a legal consultation.