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Aggravated Assault in Florida

Aggravated assault is a felony version of assault under Florida law, meaning a conviction carries more severe penalties than an ordinary misdemeanor assault conviction.  You can be charged with aggravated assault in two circumstances: if a “deadly weapon” was involved, or if the assault occurred while you were attempting to commit another felony.

A variety of items can be considered “deadly weapons” under Florida law, including not only guns and explosives but also knives, metal pipes and other objects used as clubs, and sharp objects.

Gainesville Aggravated Assault Lawyer

Being charged with aggravated assault in Florida is typically an extremely rough experience.  The qualified aggravated assault defense lawyers of the Galigani Law Firm in Gainesville have about 50 years of combined legal experience and know what it takes to expose any weak links in the prosecution's case to help your situation. Dean Galigani is Board Certified for professionalism and expertise in Criminal Trial Law, and is experienced in all areas of criminal defense, including charges of aggravated assault.

If you have been arrested for or face charges of aggravated assault in Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, Gilchrist County, Columbia County, Baker County, Bradford County, or Union County, put the many years of experience and criminal defense specialization of the Galigani Law Firm behind your case. Your first consultation concerning your Gainesville aggravated assault case with the Galigani Law Firm is free, so call (352) 375-0812 today to make an appointment.


Info on Aggravated Assault Charges


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Aggravated Assault in Florida Defined

Aggravated assault is defined by Fla. Stat. § 784.021(1) as an assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, or an assault with an intent to commit a felony. 

Fla. Stat. § 784.011 defines assault as an intentional threat by word or action to do violence to another person, combined with the apparent ability carry out the threat, and taking an action which creates a well-founded fear in the other person that violence is imminent.  To be convicted, it is not necessary to prove that you really intended to hurt the person, and you can still be convicted even if nobody was actually hurt by you.

Under Florida law, any object that is used or is threatened to be used in a way that is likely to produce death or great bodily harm can be considered a “deadly weapon.”  Guns, knives, cars, clubs, and poisons can all be considered “deadly weapons” for purposes of this law.

Even if no weapon at all was involved, you may still be charged with aggravated assault if the assault occurred while you were intending to commit a felony.  Some examples of felony crimes in Florida are:

  • Grand theft;
  • Burglary; and
  • Drug distribution.

Thus, if you threaten to punch someone and raise a fist while attempting to break into a tool shed, you may be charged with aggravated assault.


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Penalties for Aggravated Assault in Florida

If convicted of aggravated assault it is a third degree felony.  You can be sentenced to up to:

  • Five years of prison; and
  • $5,000 fine.

Fla. Stat. § 775.087 dictates tough mandatory minimum sentences for use of a firearm or destructive device such as a bomb in an assault.  If convicted, you face a mandatory minimum of:

  • Three years in prison for an assault with any firearm or destructive device;
  • 15 years in prison for assault with any fully automatic firearm or high-capacity (able to fire 20 shots or more) semi-automatic firearm;
  • 20 years in prison if a gunshot is fired during the assault; or
  • 25 years in prison, with the possibility of life in prison, if the victim dies or experiences great bodily harm.

You will also have a permanent record as a violent felon, which can greatly harm your future opportunities by showing up when someone runs a criminal background check on you.  As a convicted felon, you will also be permanently banned, under federal law, from possession of guns or ammunition anywhere in the United States.


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Defenses for Aggravated Assault in Florida

Some defenses are available to you if you are charged with aggravated assault. The prosecution must prove all elements of the case, such as the alleged intent to threaten imminent violence.  A conditional threat, meaning a statement like “I will stab you with this knife if you if you touch my car” should not result in a conviction for aggravated assault.

The prosecution must also prove that you took an intentional action that led to a well-founded fear in the alleged victim that violence was imminent.  Verbal threats unaccompanied by any physical action should not result in a conviction for aggravated assault, neither should accidental actions that caused fear to the alleged victim.

If the alleged victim is not truly afraid, or if that fear is not well-founded, you should not be convicted of  aggravated assault.  It is possible demonstrate this in court from the actions of the alleged victim, such as demonstrating that the alleged victim continued to advance towards you during the time at which they later claimed to be afraid of you.

Another possible defense is that your actions may have been justifiable in defense of yourself, others, or property, and the person who called the police claiming to be the victim may really have been the aggressor in the confrontation.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to get your charges dropped entirely.  It may also be possible to get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor assault or other misdemeanor charge such as improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct, or discharging a firearm in public. 

Even if turns out to be impossible to avoid a conviction for aggravated assault, it may be possible to get harsh mandatory minimum sentencing waived.  An experienced, Board Certified Gainesville criminal defense lawyer can help you explore the defenses are available to you and find the best option for your situation.


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Finding the Best Aggravated Assault Attorney in Alachua County, Florida

If you have been charged with aggravated assault in Gainesville or the surrounding areas, including Alachua County, Ocala in Marion County, and Lake City in Columbia County, contact the experienced aggravated assault defense lawyers of the Galigani Law Firm. They will do whatever it takes to fight for a favorable outcome to your Gainesville aggravated assault case. To set up a free initial aggravated assault case consultation with the Galigani Law Firm, dial (352) 375-0812 today.