Think Twice Before Pointing a Gun at Someone in Florida
June 1, 2023
If you point a gun at someone in Florida, you can be imprisoned and fined. If you’re undocumented or on a visitor visa and you’re convicted, you’ll be deported. It doesn’t matter whether the gun you pointed was loaded or not; it’s still aggravated assault.
Michael Kelley at Mario Gunde Peters & Kelley in Brevard County can help you if you have been charged with a violent crime in Florida.
In Florida, what is aggravated assault?
In Florida, assault is defined as “an intentional, unlawful threat to do violence to another person by way of word or act, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and committing some act that creates a well-founded fear of such violence is imminent.”
Battery and assault are separate offenses. Battery involves touching, striking, or otherwise causing physical harm, while assault refers only to the threat of harm.
An assault with a firearm is considered aggravated assault, which is more serious than a simple assault. Florida Statute 784.021 defines aggravated assault as “an assault using a deadly weapon without an intent to kill or commit a felony.”
If you are convicted of a basic assault, it is a second-degree misdemeanor. If the assault involves a deadly weapon such as a gun, the offense is elevated to a third-degree felony. You could face up to five years in prison, probation for five years, and/or a fine of $5,000.
According to statutory law, courts are required to impose minimum prison sentences for many violent crimes. Aggravated assault used to be punishable by a three-year minimum prison sentence. However, when CS/SB 228 became law in 2016, the legislature changed this policy, removing aggravated assault from the list of convictions that carry a minimum prison sentence.
Florida aggravated assault defenses: what are they?
There are a number of factors that contribute to aggravated assault charges, including accidental, unintentional, and misrepresentation. Oftentimes, people charged with aggravated assault have very valid reasons for drawing their weapon, which they may be able to use in court as a defense.
If you drew a gun on someone as an act of self-defense, we could present evidence in court to support your claim. To prove self-defense, we must prove the following:
- If you or someone else was in immediate danger of serious injury or death;
- It seemed that the only way to avoid the attack was to use force; and
- There was no excessive use of force (only a threat of force was used).
We can also use the following defenses to defeat charges of aggravated assault:
- You were wrongly accused; for example, the alleged victim lied or mistook you for someone else.
- You didn’t point a gun at anyone; for example, the object you were holding wasn’t a gun, you were holding a gun but weren’t pointing it at anyone, etc.
- It was not your intention to harm anyone.
Often, if it is unlikely that a conviction will be avoided, we can negotiate with the prosecutor and get the charges reduced to a lesser offense, such as improperly displaying a dangerous weapon or firearm (a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida Statute § 790.10 or discharging firearms in public (also a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida Statute § 790.15.
We can help you if you are facing aggravated assault charges in Brevard County.
Talk to Legal Eagles criminal defense attorneys about your case as soon as possible if you have been arrested for pointing a gun at someone. In no-nonsense terms, we can explain what you’re facing and help you devise a defense strategy.
Defend your future and freedom with Mario Gunde Peters & Kelley’s experienced attorneys. Contact us to set up a free consultation.