Conviction for a violent crime in Florida can have serious consequences, including lengthy jail sentences, fines, a criminal record, the inability to apply for jobs in certain professions, the inability to receive certain government funding, and the loss of the right to purchase or possess a firearm. As such, any violent crime offense must be met with a zealous defense mounted by a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.
The following is a look at a few of the serious violent crimes in Florida:
- Assault: The crime of assault is set out in Fla. Stat. § 784.011. Under this statute, an individual can be charged with assault if they intentionally act with violence or threaten to cause violence against another person. To be convicted of the crime of assault, the alleged offender must be able to commit the violent act and the victim must fear the individual will commit the violent act in the near future. This offense will generally be punishable as a misdemeanor of the second degree.
- Battery: The crime of battery is set out in Fla. Stat. § 784.03. Under this statute, an individual can be charged with battery if they intentionally touch another person against their will or cause harm to that person. The offense is punishable as a third degree felony.
- Aggravated Assault: Defined in Fla. Stat. § 784.021, an individual can be convicted of aggravated assault if they commit an assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill the victim. A person can also be charged with this offense if they intent to commit a felony against the victim. This offense is punished as a felony of the third degree.
- Aggravated Battery: Defined in Fla. Stat. § 784.045, an individual can be charged with aggravated battery if they commit a battery with a deadly weapon and knowingly or intentionally cause great bodily harm to the victim. A person can also be charged with this offense if they commit a battery upon a pregnant woman if they knew or should have known she was pregnant. This crime will be considered a felony of the second degree.
- Felony Battery: Set out in Fla. Stat. § 784.041, an individual can be convicted of this offense if they commit a battery and cause great bodily harm to the victim. This offense is considered a third degree felony.
- Robbery: The serious crime of robbery is defined in Fla. Stat. § 812.13. Under this statute, an individual can be charged with robbery if they take money or personal property from another person with the intent to permanently deprive the person of these items. Additionally, the offender must use violence, force, or cause fear in the victim while committing the offense. If a weapon was used, it will be a first degree felony. If no weapon was used, the offense is punishable as either a first or second degree felony depending upon other factors.
- Manslaughter: Under Fla. Stat. § 782.07, an individual can be charged with manslaughter if he or she negligently kills another human being without lawful justification, such as self defense, and the killing is not excusable as a murder or homicide. This offense is punished as a second degree felony.
- Aggravated Manslaughter: If an individual commits the crime of manslaughter against an elderly person, a child under the age of 18, a disabled adult, a police officer, EMT, paramedic, or firefighter, it will be considered aggravated and punishable as a felony of the first degree.
Penalties for Violent Crimes in Florida
The penalties for violent crimes will vary depending upon the individual offense, characteristics of the victim, and whether a weapon was used, among other factors. The guidelines below set out some general sentencing provisions:
- A misdemeanor of the second degree can result in a sentence of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500.
- A first degree misdemeanor can lead to a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of $1,000.
- A conviction for a felony of the third degree can result in a prison term of up to five years and a fine of $5,000.
- Felonies of the second degree can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years and fines of up to $10,000.
- A conviction for a first degree felony can lead to a sentence of up to 30 year or life and a fine of up to $10,000.
Possible Defenses to Violent Crime Charges in Florida
Your individual defense will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the incident. Your skilled Gainesville criminal defense attorney will investigate all the facts and legal issues to develop the strongest possible defense. Below is a look at some defenses commonly used in violent crime cases:
- Defense of property: Deadly force can be used in Florida to protect one’s home or an occupied vehicle against an intruder. Force may also be used if an individual reasonably believes their property is in danger of imminent harm by another.
- Defense of others: Deadly force can be used to prevent an attack that would likely result in death or seriously bodily injury to another. Non-deadly force can be used to defend third persons from attacks by others if the force was reasonably necessary.
- Self defense: Deadly force can be used to protect yourself from an attack by another if you reasonably believe the attack would result in serious bodily injury or death. Non-deadly force can also be used to protect yourself from another’s attack.
- Lack of intent: Intent is often a required element to a violent crime. If you did not have the required intent, you cannot be convicted of the offense.
Aggressive Defense Against Violent Crime Charges
If you have been charged with a violent crime, you could face a lengthy prison sentence, hefty fines, and a criminal record that will stay with you for life. Violent crime offenses are among the most serious, requiring the assistance of a seasoned criminal defense attorney who will aggressively pursue your rights. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced Gainesville Violent Crimes Defense Attorneys, call our law office today.