Criminal charges can range in severity. When a person faces a felony charge, it is likely that the punishments will be more severe in the event of a conviction than for a misdemeanor allegation. However, some crimes could fall into either category depending on the exact circumstances, and because of this potential, it is important that you understand the specific allegations made against you in such a situation.
For instance, certain violent crimes could be considered assault. The situation could result in charges for simple assault or for aggravated assault. Typically, aggravated assault leads to felony charges, but even those allegations can have varying degrees.
Enhancing factors involving the victim
Several factors could lead to authorities feeling that enhanced charges are applicable in an assault case. The victim could even give cause for aggravated assault charges. If you stand accused of assaulting a teacher, firefighter or police officer, aggravated charges typically apply. However, you would have had to have known of the person’s profession, and he or she would have had to have been acting in a professional capacity at the time of the incident.
Additionally, if police accuse you of assaulting a member of a protected class, authorities may consider the incident a hate crime. If the violent encounter took place with race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion or national origin as a driving factor, you could face accusations of a hate crime.
Enhancing factors involving weapons
If police believe deadly weapons were involved in the event, this factor could also lead to aggravated charges. It may be important to remember that even if the weapon itself does not cause harm to the victim, the use of the weapon to cause fear in another person still plays a role in the situation overall and enhances the charges. Deadly weapons often include firearms, but if another weapon is used in a manner that could cause a fatality, it could fall into this category as well.
Defending against allegations
Felony charges for aggravated assault are serious allegations. If police bring such charges against you, it may work in your best interests to thoroughly review your defense options. The manner in which you approach your case could greatly affect the outcome, and if you feel uncertain about moving forward, you may wish to consult with a Florida criminal defense attorney.