Former State Prosecutor
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Any time a person harms or threatens to harm another, he or she could be charged with a violent crime. Florida law has several different violent crimes, including assault and battery, all of which could carry significant penalties. The offenses can be considered both misdemeanor and felony offenses.
Violent crimes can have consequences that are far reaching, including negatively affecting your employment, military or academic status, as well as prohibiting you from attending your child's school or recreational activities. In addition, your criminal record could make it difficult to find housing, have your record sealed or own a firearm.
If you are facing charged for a violent crime, contact a violent crime defense lawyer at Morris Law Firm, P.A.. The attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. have years of experience handling violent crime cases, and they understand what it takes to protect your future.
Melinda Morris, managing partner of the Morris Law Firm, P.A., was a State Attorney who was responsible for prosecuting a plethora of very serious violent crime offenses, beginning during the investigation process all the way through trial. Morris also received special training on prosecuting assault and battery cases while working as a State Prosecutor in Pinellas County.
Morris' inside knowledge is of critical importance and can benefit the defense of your case. She and her legal team represent clients throughout the Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg, Bartow, New Port Richey, Dade City, Plant City, Clearwater and other surrounding areas. Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free consultation.
Often times people refer to assault and battery as one charge. However, these actually are two distinct offenses and they can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. These offenses are found in Section 784 of the Florida Statutes.
Generally, assault is defined as 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 such violence is imminent. According to Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.011, the use of a weapon in conjunction with the assault can enhance the charge to aggravated assault, which is a felony offense.
The offense of battery occurs when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other. It also could occur if a person intentionally causes bodily harm to another person, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.03. If serious bodily injury occurs, a weapon is used or the victim is pregnant, the charge can be enhanced to aggravated battery, which is a felony offense.
Domestic violence is a specialized form of either assault or battery, and it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. In domestic violence cases ,the penalties are enhanced and the consequences can be far more serious.
In Florida, violent crimes are those that involve a threat, a use or force or some physicality occurs. This means there are a variety of violent crimes on the books in Florida. In addition to assault and battery, some other violent crimes could include:
Robbery — Robbery means the taking of money or other property from a person with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or of the money or other property with the use of force, violence, assault or putting in fear. If a firearm or other weapon was used, it is considered aggravated robbery.
Carjacking — Carjacking is a robbery in which the object stolen is a motor vehicle. This charge also could apply even if the person did not successfully steal the vehicle. If the person attempted to take the property, it still could be considered carjacking.
Kidnapping — In Florida, kidnapping is considered confining, abducting or imprisoning another person forcibly, secretly or by threat. It must be proven that the accused intended to hold the victim hostage, use the victim as a shield, inflict harm, terrorize the victim or interfere with a government or political function.
False imprisonment — False imprisonment is a crime involving restraining, imprisoning or abducting a person by force or by threat of force, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 787.02. This is similar to kidnapping, but less severe.
Disorderly conduct — Disorderly conduct is when a person commits acts of a nature to corrupt public morals, such as fighting or brawling or affects the peace and quiet of the people around them. This also is called "breach of the peace."
The penalties for violent crimes vary based on several factors, including whether or not a weapon was used to commit the crime, if the offender has a criminal record and who was the victim of the crime.
For example, robbery typically is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a $10,000 or both. However, if a weapon was used, it could be a first-degree felony, which could mean up to 30 years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.
Carjacking is a first-degree felony. This, again, is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. If a firearm or weapon was used, however, the sentence could be increased to life in prison.
Kidnapping also is a first-degree felony. The charge may be upgraded to a life felony if the victim was younger than 13 and was abused or raped. A life felony could mean up to life in prison, or at least 40 years in prison, plus up to $15,000 in fines.
A conviction for false imprisonment, a third-degree felony, could mean up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 or both. Disorderly conduct is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine up to a $500 or both.
However, there are other consequences that could affect a person long after the court-issued punishments are completed. For instance, violent crimes will appear on all background checks which could affect a person's ability to find a job, rent a house or even apply for a loan.
Additionally, when a person is convicted of a felony, he or she could lose the right to apply for some governmental assistance and to legally possess a firearm. Doing so could result in additional criminal charges.
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Victim Services — The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office provides services to victims of violent crimes, including 24-hour crisis intervention, victim's rights information and referrals.
Florida Department of Corrections Victims Services — The Office of Community Corrections provides assistance to victims of violent crimes. Assistance could include crime compensation, counseling, and notifications about the inmate.
National Center for Victims of Crimes - The National Center for Victims of Crimes works to provide resources to victims of crimes and to protect them. The organization also works to improve education and the way violent crimes are treated throughout the country.
The attorneys at Morris Law Firm, P.A. are passionate about getting favorable results for their clients. They have years of experience fighting for those facing criminal charges, and they will work with you to ensure your rights are represented. If you have been charged with a violent offense, contact a St. Petersburg violent crime defense attorney at Morris Law Firm, P.A.. Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free consultation.
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