Aggravated Assault and Battery

Aggravated Assault and Aggravated Battery Criminal Defense Attorney

Larry Sandefer – Aggravated Assault Crimes Defense Lawyer
Serving Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay and the State of Florida

People often as us what is the difference between an assault and a battery, or what is an aggravated assault or an aggravated battery and what is the penalty?  Or, why was I charged with an Aggravated Battery instead of a simple battery,  what does Aggravated Battery or Aggravated Assault mean?

What am I facing? I am not guilty, what do I do now?

These are all questions we are asked when someone has been charged with a violent crime by the State Attorney’s Office in Pinellas County or in the Tampa Bay Area.

We will try to  answer some of your questions. But, please call or email us to talk about your specific charge or accusation because every case and the facts or reason behind it are different and every person is different.  LET US BE YOUR ATTORNEY.

Basicly, the difference between an assault and battery is that an assault generally does not involve any contact but involves a threat by either word or act to ‘do violence’, without the use of a weapon. An assault is an unlawful threat do violence to another person while having the ability to do so, and creating a well-founded fear in the other person that violence is about to take place. Those are legal terms for someone saying that you threatened them.  It is a second degree misdemeanor and carries up to 60 days in the county jail.  The most common defense to  assault is that I did not do it or I was not close enough to carry out the threat or I did not mean it.

An ‘aggravated’ assault is a third degree felony and carries up to five years in state prison.   An aggravated assault can be a threat by word or act to do violence to someone with a deadly weapon or with a motor vehicle. This is often when someone is accused of of pointing a gun at someone or threatening someone with a knife, but it can also be driving a car towards someone or throwing an object at them.

A deadly weapon by law, can be a gun, a knife, or virtually anything which could cause serious bodily  injury. Often times an issue in aggravated assault and a defense to aggravated Assault is the so-called “weapon” and whether it is a deadly weapon or not. If that is an issue in your case let us know, we can talk about successes we have had of a similar nature or caselaw about what may or may not qualify as a deadly weapon.   Another issue and potential defense to the charge of Aggravated Assault which should be explored is whether the person had the apparent ability to carry out the threat. Were they too far away to do anything or were they not serious?

Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony carrying a maximum of of a five-year prison sentence. However, aggravated assault with a firearm can carry a minimum mandatory 3 year prison sentence.

Aggravated Battery is more serious than Aggravated Assault and there are two types of aggravated battery charges.   Aggravated battery occurs when someone ‘touches or strikes’ someone against their will and causes serious bodily injury. In other words you are charged with attacking someone and causing serious injury.   You might be surprised at what the law says is serious bodily injury and also at what does not qualify under the law.  Often the police are either unaware of the distinction or ‘over-arrest or over-charge’ someone.  You need to explore these options in your case.

If the accuser claims that you intentionally caused the serious injury, as opposed to not meaning to seriously hurt them but a serious injury occurrred , then the minimum sentencing score on the Florida Sentencing Code is more severe. Both types of Aggravated Battery are second degree felonies carrying up to 15 years in prison, but if the intent was to actually cause serious bodily injury the sentencing code calls for a prison sentence even with no prior record.    If a firearm is used, Florida’s 10-20-Life law may come into play with minimum mandatory sentencing of 10 years for having the gun, 20 years if the gun is fired, or life in prison if someone is shot. These accusations are extremely serious and should not be taken lightly even if the situation is between family or friends and was temporary. We handle a great number of Aggravated Assault and aggravated battery cases and have extensive experience which we can use in your defense.   Do not wait if you are arrested for such a potentially serious offense.  Unfortunately we often get people who come in to see us who waited to see an attorney because friends or relatives told them that it was nothing to take seriously, that the state attorney will not file it.  Or, to them it was obvious that they were not guilty of the accusation and if everyone tells the truth it will go away. They were surprised that the state filed the charge. We can go over the investigative procedures and charging procedures the state attorney uses.The state often only has been given one side of the story. It is usually to your advantage to get an attorney early in a case. Larry Sandefer knows those procedures well. As a division director he was a senior staff member who made those decisions and what goes in to those decisions.   Many times we are able to talk with the state attorney before a filing decision is made, and even give them information that they were not aware of.  This meeting or presentation by an experienced felony defense attorney can  and many times does result in a charge not getting filed or a lesser charge being filed.  It is important to talk to an attorney early.

What if the victim drops the charge? I know I don’t need an attorney for that! Wrong!

The ‘victim’ in Florida is not the one who controls prosecution, the state attorney can, and very often does, file charges even when an alleged victim wishes not to prosecute. The state of Florida is actually the legal victim in any criminal accusation and has the final say so over filing or not.  You should always contact an experienced Pinellas County criminal and aggravated battery defense attorney and aggravated assault defense attorney for a consultation. Please review Larry Sandefer’s qualifications and extensive experience here. Then, call and talk on the phone or come in. There is no charge and all consultations are confidential.  You owe it to yourself and your future.

  • Over 35 Years Courtroom Experience
  • Former Lead Trial Lawyer & Division Director
  • Over 5000 Criminal Cases Handled
  • Hundreds of Jury Trials as sole or lead counsel

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