What are the Penalties for Assault in Florida?

Gone are the days that you can get into a brawl with someone at a bar, with a co-worker, or even a friend or acquaintance and walk away with your dignity intact. These days, if a verbal altercation turns to threats or if it becomes physical, it can lead to a one-way trip to jail and a criminal record.

Under Florida law, you don't necessarily have to make "contact" in order to be charged with assault, and this is explained under Section 784.011 of the Florida Statutes.

Under Florida law, you can be charged with assault if you threaten violence against someone, even if you don't actually lay a finger on them.

For the threat to constitute "assault" it must accompany the apparent ability to carry out the threat, or you must carry out an act that creates a fear in the other person, causing them to reasonably believe that you would commit an act of violence against him or her.

Examples of Assaultive Offenses

As you can imagine, "assault" is an umbrella term that can implicate someone in any number of situations.

For example, getting into a fight at a bar and throwing a chair at someone. Or, holding a concrete block and telling someone that you are going to "crush their head" with it, these can be considered assaultive offenses. Pushing, shoving, or slapping someone can fall under the category of assault as well.

Under Sect. 784.011, the crime of assault is classified as a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by:

  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • A fine not to exceed $500

Were you involved in an altercation that resulted in an arrest and criminal charges? As a former prosecutor with over 25 years of experience, I am well-aware that there are are always two sides to the story and that your side should be heard loud and clear before the prosecutor and the judge.

Even if you acted in self-defense, you still need aggressive defense representation to help you fight your charges and avoid a conviction. To discuss your case in a free consultation, contact my West Palm Beach criminal defense firm without delay!


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