Those facing allegations of interpersonal violence in Florida have to worry about numerous consequences should they plead guilty or get convicted. A judge could sentence someone to incarceration, order them to pay large fines or require that they submit to state supervision during probation.
Assault is one of the lower-level violent offenses in Florida, but aggravated assault is a more serious charge. It is generally classified as a third-degree felony. Those accused of aggravated assault risk a judge sentencing the worst possible penalties if they plead guilty.
How might someone accused of aggravated assault defend against the charges they face?
Prove the case does not meet the statutory standard
There are two conditions that turn an assault into an aggravated assault according to Florida criminal law. The first is when someone assaults another person with a deadly weapon without an actual intent to kill them or when they engage in assault with the intention of committing a felony. A physical assault committed with the intention of stealing a car could lead to felony charges because stealing a vehicle is a felony. If someone can show that neither of those definitions for aggravated assault applies, they could avoid a conviction because the case does not meet the necessary standard according to the law.
Raise a claim of self-defense
Another common defense strategy utilized by those accused of physical acts of violence is to assert that they acted in an attempt to defend themselves. Florida does not require that someone retreat before acting in self-defense. State law will limit the ability of people to claim they acted in self-defense if they instigated the situation or broke the law prior to the situation unfolding.
Provide an alibi
Many violent criminal charges result from the police arresting individuals who meet a certain description after someone files a police report. Misidentification is a serious issue in the criminal justice system. Individuals accused of aggravated assault can sometimes prove that they were elsewhere, thereby effectively establishing that they did not assault anyone.
There are many other possible defense strategies that people could utilize depending on the exact circumstances that led to their arrest. Seeking legal guidance to better understand Florida’s aggravated assault statutes is good starting point for those who want to fight against their charges.