Florida has defined many crimes which involve violence or the unlawful application of force to another person.
In Florida assault is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another coupled with an apparent ability to do so and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that real violence is imminent. Assault is a misdemeanor and the classic example is a person who becomes angry and raises a clenched fist a few inches from another’s nose and says “I’m going to knock your teeth out.”
Violent Crimes Definitions
Aggravated assault is: An assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill or with an intent to commit a felony. Aggravated assault is a felony in Florida. The classic aggravated assault is a person engaged in a road-rage incident who jumps out of his vehicle and points a firearm at the other driver. This crime carries a mandatory minimum three years in prison in Florida if the defendant is convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm.
Battery is defined as: Actually and intentionally touching or striking another person against that person’s will or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. Battery is a misdemeanor in Florida and the typical battery is where two individuals get into an argument and one grabs the other and punches him in the face.
Felony battery is defined as: Committing a battery and causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to the victim. An example of a felony battery is a barroom fight that results in a broken nose and broken jaw of the victim.
Aggravated battery in Florida is defined as: Committing a battery and either intentionally or knowingly causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to the victim or using a deadly weapon. In addition, if a person knowingly commits a battery on a pregnant person that offense is also aggravated battery.
Robbery is defined as: Taking money or property from the person or custody of another with intent to deprive the person of the money or property when in the course of taking the property there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear. The penalties for robbery increase if the offender carried a firearm or other dangerous or deadly weapon.
Almost all of the violent crimes in Florida require proof that the offender had a specific intent to harm the victim, cause injury to the victim, or use force or violence against the victim to obtain money or property.
What are some of the defenses available to a person charged with a violent crime like aggravated assault or aggravated battery?
Almost all of the violent crimes in Florida require proof that the offender had a specific intent to harm the victim, cause injury to the victim, or use force or violence against the victim to obtain money or property.There are many circumstances where a person is permitted to use force against another. These cases rely on the law of self-defense. Florida recognizes self-defense when the facts justify the use of force which is both reasonable and necessary to defend one’s self, another person, or one’s home or property including an occupied vehicle. The use of deadly force can only be used to prevent imminent death or greatly bodily harm to one’s self or another, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when that person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass or unlawful use of non-deadly force.
Violent crimes like arson, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery are usually defended on the basis of mistaken identity. These crimes generally have one or more eyewitnesses who claim the defendant committed the crime. Florida allows a defendant to take a pretrial deposition of these eyewitnesses to determine the circumstances under which the crime was committed, the opportunity the witness had to observe the crime, the background and criminal record of the witnesses, and any motive or bias the witness may have against the defendant.
Many times eyewitnesses will describe the perpetrator in ways which are much different from the accused.
Violent crimes are difficult to defend because by their nature they present facts which most people find hard to understand. Jurors are shocked by violent crimes, and when a lawyer is defending these cases, he must establish his credibility and honesty with the jury. To win a violent crime case, the defense must have a believable defense that makes sense to the jury.
For more than 40 years, Sarasota Criminal Attorney James Dirmann has defended clients charged with the most serious kinds of violent crimes. Whether the charge was murder, robbery or aggravated assault with a firearm, Mr. Dirmann has worked closely with each client to discover all of the facts and evidence, to locate favorable witnesses when available and to work diligently to obtain the best possible result for each client.
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a violent crime, Mr. Dirmann is willing to talk with you confidentially and with no obligation. Why not seek legal advice on your case from a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer?