The intricacies of the law are often impenetrable to the average person, unless you do a little research and learn how various crimes are categorized and defined.
Even seemingly simple concepts like assault get dissected and differentiated according to the severity of the incident, and that can make being charged with a particular offense tough to get your head around.
To clear up the questions you have regarding simple assault and aggravated assault in particular, let’s look at the distinctions and the punishments associated with each.
Simple assault & aggravated assault unpacked
The first point to make is that crime definitions vary by state, but in the case of assault there are some consistencies nationwide. Florida’s state laws reflect the general consensus on this topic by having simple assault categorized as a second-degree misdemeanor, while aggravated assault is treated as a felony.
So what counts as simple assault? Well, sieving out the legalese, it’s a crime involving the threat of physical violence, and the clear ability to follow through on this threat.
The key here is that it has to be proven that you intended harm to another party. If not, your liability shifts, and of course this accounts for injuries resulting from an accident instead.
Aggravated assault falls into two camps; assault with a deadly weapon, or an attack which takes place while you are in the process of executing another felony-grade crime. Wave a knife or a gun in someone’s face, and it’s considered aggravated assault, even if you don’t actually use the weapon.
In terms of penalties, simple assault carries a fine of up to $500, along with the possibility for a maximum of 60 days in jail, in addition to half a year’s probation.
Aggravated assault comes with a $5,000 fine, and a top level incarceration duration of five years, in addition to five years’ probation. As mentioned, this is consistent with laws nationwide, so moving long-distance won’t leave you in a different position to if you stayed put in Florida.
Consulting an expert criminal lawyer
If you are facing aggravated assault charges, you can learn more here about what to expect, and how to best defend yourself against any serious accusations leveled against you.
Even if you are only being brought to bear over simple assault charges, you should still consult an expert criminal lawyer who has experience in this area of law and has a track record of serving clients well when they are in this sticky situation.
The prospect of any jail time hanging over you will be daunting, so it’s not worth taking any chances when your freedom hangs in the balance.
A good lawyer in your area will know the law inside out, be able to advise and guide you as your case progresses, and will ideally be able to settle the matter before it reaches the courtroom.
Understanding the possibility of an assault charge
It’s important to clarify once more that while the term ‘assault’ might sound like it means a direct physical altercation, the reality is that you can be charged with this crime even if you do not actually touch the other party or parties.
Just making a threat to carry out an assault is enough to get you in hot water, so bear this in mind if you want to avoid finding yourself on the wrong end of a charge of this type. Likewise if you are the victim of an assault, verbal or otherwise, it is good to know that the law is there to protect you and to punish the perpetrator.
Hopefully you are now geared up to deal with whatever charges might come your way, or may already be leveled against you, along with knowing that a lawyer is your best option in these circumstances.