aggravated Assault criminal defense attorneys protect your rights in fort lauderdale assault crimesFacing an Aggravated Assault charge can feel like you’ve now suddenly been labeled as a ‘criminal’, but the assault and battery attorneys at Rossen Law Firm are here to guide you every step of the way. Our South Florida aggravated assault lawyers understand mistakes happen and sometimes people make bad decisions.

What is an Aggravated Assault Crime?

As a seasoned lawyer could explain, an Aggravated Assault crime in Fort Lauderdale is when someone threatens in word or action to harm someone and creates fear that the harm is unavoidable. This type of threat involves the use of a deadly weapon or the intention to commit a felony.

In legal terms, an Aggravated Assault is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to another person, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, in order to create a well-founded fear in any reasonable person that harm or violence is imminent. An aggravated assault is made with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, but with the intent to commit a felony.

According to FLA. STAT. § 784.021 (2019) :

  1. An “aggravated assault” is an assault:
    1. ​With a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or
    2. With an intent to commit a felony.

There are four elements that need to be proved by the prosecution in order to establish that a person did, in fact, commit aggravated assault: 

  1. The defendant unlawfully and intentionally threatened another person through an intentional act,
  2. The defendant appeared to have the ability to carry out the threat at the time it was made,
  3. The defendant’s act created a well-founded fear in the victim’s mind that violence was imminent, and
  4. The defendant either a) used a deadly weapon, or b) had the fully-formed conscious intent to commit a felony.

The burden is on the prosecution to satisfy each of the four elements above.


Aggravated Assault is a third-degree felony in Florida with penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years probation, and a $5,000 fine.

The range of punishments can increase significantly to include mandatory prison of up to 20 years, if a firearm is actually within reach and fired.

Penalties include:

  • Up to 5 years in prison
  • Up to 5 years of Probation
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

If you are convicted of aggravated assault, or plea guilty to aggravated assault, you will have a permanent criminal record. An aggravated assault charge makes your case ineligible for a seal or expungement, as a South Florida attorney can explain.

Learn about more battery and assault crime penalties here.

Aggravated Assault Defenses in South Florida

  • Self-Defense: Self-defense is a type of affirmative defense used to mitigate or avoid legal consequences of an otherwise unlawful use of force. A self-defense claim recognizes the commission of a violent act, but excuses the act on the grounds that it was reasonably necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves. When a person is legally present and fearful of their life, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law provides legal immunity to those who use deadly force to defend themselves.
  • Necessity or Duress: In Florida, Necessity or Duress is a type of affirmative defense used to relieve the defendant of criminal liability in situations where the accused had reason to believe they were facing a danger or emergency. To justify the criminal act, the objective appearance of a danger or emergency must be so apparent that any reasonable person under the same circumstances would believe the only way to avoid the imminent threat is by committing the charged crime.
  • Conditional Threat: A conditional threat is conditioned on events that have not yet occurred, or possibly never will. Because the threat is contingent upon an event that may or may not happen, it does not fulfill the requirement of imminence that is necessary for an Aggravated Assault Conviction.
  • Other:
    • ​Stand your ground law
    • Defense of a third person
    • Defendant didn’t have a deadly weapon
    • Defendant didn’t intend to commit a felony
    • Alleged Victim did not have a reasonable fear
    • Defendant unable to carry out the threat

Free Aggravated Assault Criminal Defense Strategy Session in South Florida

We handle aggravated assault cases of all types. We know how to protect your rights and provide you with a personalized and aggressive defense to your criminal charges.

Rossen Law Firms offers FREE strategy sessions so you know how we’ll fight to get the best possible outcome on your case. Unlike most law firms, we don’t put a time limit on this meeting. To schedule your consultation with an expert Fort Lauderdale aggravated assault lawyer, call our office today.


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