Aggravated Assault with a Firearm
You need not touch somebody to be accused or convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm in Florida. You can be convicted for threatening violence even if you did not actually injure anyone. Aggravated assault charges are taken very seriously when they involve weapons such as firearms. A conviction carries the potential of a harsh sentence and other penalties. Sarasota assault defense lawyer Will Hanlon fights for the rights of the accused.Aggravated Assault with a Firearm
Florida courts regard assault as intentional threats, whether in the form of words or actions, which cause someone to become afraid of imminent violence. In contrast, battery and aggravated battery involve tangible offensive physical contact, such as hitting someone, shooting someone, or hitting them with a bat. When a deadly weapon is used to threaten, it becomes aggravated assault.
You can be charged with aggravated assault with a firearm if the prosecutor can show beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) you unlawfully and intentionally (2) threatened to do violence to someone, (3) you seemed able to carry out your threat when you made it, (4) the victim reasonably feared that they would be a victim of violence, and (5) the assault was made with a firearm.
It is important to note that the prosecutor need not prove that you intended to injure the other person or that you actually injured the other person. They only need to prove that you intended to threaten violence of some sort. Generally, if you use a firearm to make threats, the intent to threaten violence is met. There is no need to show another separate felony like rape or that there was an intent to actually hurt the person whom you threatened. Thus, for example, if you took out a shotgun because you are suspicious of your daughter's boyfriend and pointed it at him to scare him into not coming around again, you could face aggravated assault charges with the attendant sentencing and penalties.
You can face sentencing for a third-degree felony if you are charged with aggravated assault. That means that you can face a sentence of 5 years in prison or 5 years on probation and a $5,000 fine. You can be sent to prison even if this is your first time ever being charged with a crime and even if you did not intend real harm.
You cannot be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated assault with a firearm. There are mandatory minimum sentences imposed under Florida Statute section 775.087 when forcible felonies are committed, but these do not apply when using a firearm is an essential incident. Therefore, you will not be sentenced to a mandatory minimum for aggravated assault involving a firearm unless the events that resulted in the charge occurred prior to July 1, 2016, which is the effective date of the statutory amendment removing aggravated assault from the list of forcible felonies that require a mandatory minimum sentence. If the events were before July 1, 2016, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years. If the events were after July 1, 2016, the court will determine a sentence for aggravated assault with a firearm by using multiple factors. Points provided on a score sheet for felony charges will decide the sentence.
There may be defenses that apply to your situation. It is crucial to hire an experienced Sarasota criminal defense attorney who understands which defenses are available and which may apply to your circumstances. In some cases, it may be appropriate to mount a Stand Your Ground defense, while in other cases, you may be able to raise a defense of others defense. It may be appropriate to argue necessity or false allegations. It may be possible to argue that there is insufficient evidence that you intended to threaten.Hire a Sarasota Attorney to Fight a Weapons Charge
An aggravated assault with a firearm conviction carries serious sentencing and penalties in Florida. Our firm's founder, Will Hanlon, has defended the accused in Sarasota since 1994. You can call us at 941.462.1789 or use our online form to set up an appointment with an experienced lawyer.