Aggravated Assault With a Firearm
St. Petersburg has an extremely high rate of violent crime as compared to other cities in the United States. A Tampa Bay Times analysis found that assaults made up 45% of gun incidents, and they were more likely to be fatal than accidents were. Historically, aggravated assault with a firearm has been punished more harshly in Florida than other types of aggravated assault. However, recent changes to the law have altered the sentencing with regard to this crime. While it is no longer as rigid, a conviction still carries the potential for time in prison as well as a criminal record that can make it difficult to get a job. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg aggravated assault defense lawyer Will Hanlon is dedicated to protecting and defending the rights of the accused, and he has decades of experience doing so. Contact us if you are charged with aggravated assault with a firearm.Aggravated Assault with a Firearm
Under Florida Statute section 784.021, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is an assault charge that involves a deadly weapon, but no intent to kill. In other words, the prosecutor needs to prove the elements of assault and prove that a deadly weapon was involved. A firearm is considered a deadly weapon in Florida. Prior to July 1, 2016, aggravated assault with a firearm carried a three-year mandatory minimum term. Judges had no discretion to depart downward if the prosecution proved its case, and a conviction was secured. However, the law that specified mandatory minimums was modified so that aggravated assault with a firearm no longer carries a mandatory minimum, although other felonies in which a gun is used may trigger a mandatory minimum.
Aggravated assault with a firearm is a third-degree felony. This means that you can be punished by at most five years in prison, five years on probation, and a $5,000 fine. While you do not face a mandatory minimum sentence if the assault occurred on July 1, 2016 or later, prosecutors take the charge seriously, and you may still be sentenced to prison. Different factors go into the calculation of whether you will have prison time. There is a scoresheet used for Florida felony charges, and points are assigned to factors in order to calculate the appropriate sentence.
There are various defenses that it may be appropriate to raise when faced with aggravated assault with a firearm charges. For example, it might be appropriate to raise Florida's Stand Your Ground Law. Under Florida Statute section 776.012, which is popularly known as the Stand Your Ground law, you are justified in using deadly force and do not have a duty to retreat if you reasonably believe that force is necessary to stop from being immediately hurt or killed or to stop a forcible felony that is about to be perpetrated. You are also justified if you are in a dwelling or residence lawfully, and you believe that it is necessary to use non-deadly force to stop from being seriously injured or killed, to protect another person from being killed or injured, or to stop a forcible felony that is about to be perpetrated.
In some cases, people are charged with aggravated assault with a firearm for defending someone else. Whenever self-defense or defense of others is raised, it is important to be aware that any defense needs to be proportionate to the situation. If you took out a gun to threaten someone because they said something rude to your friend, a defense of others argument may not be successful. Similarly, you cannot take out a gun while instigating a fight and then argue self-defense or defense of others.Discuss Your Aggravated Assault Charge with a St. Petersburg Attorney
If you are charged with aggravated assault with a firearm, or if you suspect that you are about to be charged, you need to seek legal counsel without delay. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation since 1994. We are dedicated to guarding the rights of the accused. Call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or submit our online form.