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Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Florida

Assault with a deadly weapon is considered a form of “aggravated assault” under Florida law, making it a felony in all circumstances.  If the deadly weapon is a gun or a destructive device such as a homemade bomb, harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws mandate years or even decades in prison.

It is possible to be convicted of this offense even if no people were actually hurt.  It is also possible to be convicted of using things in a fight that people might not usually consider a “deadly weapon,” for example a small Leatherman or Swiss Army knife or a truck you are driving can all be considered “deadly weapons” under Florida law.

Gainesville Assault with a Deadly Weapon Defense Lawyer

Being accused of assault with a deadly weapon in Florida can be an awful experience.  The qualified assault with a deadly weapon 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 get your charges reduced or dismissed. Dean Galigani is Board Certified for professionalism and expertise in Criminal Trial Law and is experienced in all areas of criminal defense, including charges involving an assault with a deadly weapon.

If you have been arrested or face charges involving an assault with a deadly weapon in Alachua County, Gilchrist County, Columbia County, Baker County, Bradford County, Marion County, Levy 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 assault with a deadly weapon case with the Galigani Law Firm is free, so call (352) 375-0812 today to schedule your appointment.


Florida Assault with a Deadly Weapon Overview


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Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Florida Defined

If you are accused of an assault with a deadly weapon in Florida but did not intend to kill  the victim, you will be charged with aggravated assault per Fla. Stat. § 784.021(1)(a).   If you are accused of an assault with a deadly weapon while intending to kill the victim, you will face more serious attempted murder charges. 

Florida law defines an assault as an intentional threat by word or action to do violence to another person, combined with an apparent ability carry out the threat, and the taking of an action which creates a well-founded fear in the other person of imminent violence. 

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.”  Some examples of items that may be considered deadly weapons for purposes of this law are:

  • Firearms;
  • Fireworks;
  • Knives, even small folding knives;
  • Steel-toed boots;
  • Anything used as a club or bludgeon;
  • Anything used as a poison;
  • Motor vehicles; and
  • Glass bottles.

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Penalties for Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Florida

If convicted of aggravated assault involving an assault with a deadly weapon, this is a third-degree felony.  You can be sentenced to up to:

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

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

  • Mandatory minimum three years in prison for an assault with any firearm or destructive device;
  • Mandatory minimum 15 years in prison for assault with any machine gun or high-capacity (capable of firing 20 shots or more) semi-automatic gun;
  • Mandatory minimum 20 years in prison if a gun is fired during the assault; or
  • Mandatory minimum 25 years in prison, with the possibility of life in prison, if the alleged victim dies or suffers great bodily harm.

In addition, you will have a permanent record as a violent felon, which can harm your future opportunities by showing up when a criminal background check is run on you.  As a convicted felon, you will also be permanently banned, by federal law, from possession of firearms anywhere in the United States.


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Defenses for Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Florida

Some defenses are available to you if you are accused of an assault with a deadly weapon. 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 beat you bloody with a baseball bat if you talk to my wife again,” 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.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to get your charges dropped entirely, for example, if your actions were justifiable in self-defense.  It may also be possible to get your charges reduced to a misdemeanor charge such as improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct, or discharging a firearm in public.  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.

Even if turns out to be impossible to avoid a conviction, it may be possible to get harsh mandatory minimum sentencing waived by successfully demonstrating that:

  • You do not pose a threat to public safety;
  • You had a mistaken but good faith belief that your action was justifiable, for example, if you mistakenly believed the action was justifiable self-defense;
  • You did not take the action in the course of committing another crime; or
  • The totality of the circumstances involved in the offense does not justify the imposition of such a harsh mandatory minimum sentence.

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Finding the Best Assault with a Deadly Weapon Attorney in Alachua County, Florida

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