How Serious Is an Assault Charge?

men fighting after a fender bender

How will assault charge affect me? 

Assault charges may not seem profoundly serious, but any time you’re arrested, it is serious. Even the most minor cause for assault charges will result in consequences that can affect a person’s life. 

If you arrested for criminal assault in Florida, the first thing you’ll face once you’ve been arrested with assault charges is assault charges bail to be determined by the judge. Then there is the waiting for that bail to be posted, which may seem like it takes forever.  Depending on the time of day and what day it is, it can take hours, even a few days. 

Hiring an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney can help speed the process up, while providing you advice and assist you in navigating this process.  An experienced attorney may be able to get the charges dropped or the case thrown out. They can also work with the judge to minimize the possible penalties or  negotiate a plea bargain.

A conviction for assault charges will be on your permanent record and the impact is forever lasting. Some of the things that will be affected in your life are:

  • Loss of job and difficulty getting a new job
  • Buying or renting a  residence
  • Getting a loan or scholarship

If the assault charges result in a felony conviction, other consequences that can result are: 

  • Loss of right to vote
  • Ineligible to serve on a jury
  • Ineligible to hold public office
  • Ineligible to own or possess a firearms
  • Loss of professional certification or license

A person arrested on assault charges that has current criminal charges or a prior criminal record may see the assault charge and the punishment enhanced and stricter. This is especially if the previous charges were for a violent crime.

What are examples of assault?

Every state has their own definition of assault charges, usually broken into different categories.  In Florida, assault charges are classified in two categories, with the circumstances determining the category: 

  • Misdemeanor assault charges
  • Felony assault charges

A brief summarization what are different assault charges can result from an arrest are: 

  • Simple Assault:  The basic form of assault results in a second-degree misdemeanor.
    Criminal intent must be proven for the defendant to be considered liable. Simple assault charges deemed a second-degree misdemeanor has minor penalties of sixty days in jail, 6 month probation, and/or a fine of $500 or less. 
  • Aggravated Assault: This is step above the simple assault charges in severity and can be deemed an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or an assault while committing another felony crime. This creates a third-degree felony with penalty of 5 years imprisonment, 5 years’ probation, and/or a fine up to five thousand dollars. If assault charges include a deadly weapon, it can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of three-years.  

Assault with a Deadly Weapon is the act of committing an assault while welding a gun or knife, placing another person in imminent threat of being harmed.  Assault while committing another Felony elevates assault charges to aggravated assault charges. One example would be the burglary of a vehicle with the intention of unlawful threat to another person that causes them fear of looming harm.

Can a victim drop criminal charges?

The function of the United States  government is essentially to protect us. Sometimes that means we may lose some of our rights. In Florida, that means that a victim of criminal activity cannot drop charges against their assailant. They can request the District Attorney or Attorney General to drop the charges, but the ultimate decision is up to the state of Florida. 

Can assault charges be dropped?

If the assault charges are classified as domestic assault, no, the victim cannot drop the charges. The State of Florida has aggressive laws on this matter and has a strong stance on following through with conviction and sentencing. 

What is the penalty for an assault charge? 

Under Florida law, Simple Assault Charges are tried as a second degree misdemeanor. Penalty for this conviction include: 

  • 60 days in jail
  • 6 months’ probation
  • $500.00 fine

Aggravated Assault Charges are classified as a third degree felony with punishment of five years of imprisonment.

processed through arrest

Is battery worse than assault?

When it comes to assault charges vs battery charges in the State of Florida, they are two separate crimes, but both have serious penalties that can include fines, jail time, and probation. Assault charges refer to a threat that causes another person a fear of harm. Battery charges result from one person causing physical harm or touching another person not wanting to be touched. 

In either situation of assault charges or battery charges, as we state earlier, having the experience of a criminal defense attorney is recommended. They have the knowledge of how the legal system works so they can have the penalties minimized or possibly have the charges reduced or minimized. Need help with bail in St. Petersburg, FL? Call 727-571-9999 today.