Anyone who is charged with a violent crime in Florida is in a great deal of trouble and likely needs the services of a violent crime lawyer in St. Petersburg. The most prominent Florida violent crimes are:
- Assault and aggravated assault: [Stat §§ 784.011 & 784.021] An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, couples 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. An “aggravated assault” is an assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill or with an intent to commit a felony.
- Battery and aggravated battery: [Stat §§ 784.03 & 784.045]: The offense of battery occurs when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. A person commits aggravated battery who, in committing battery, intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, or uses a deadly weapon.
- Sexual battery/rape: [Stat § 794.011] “Sexual battery” means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.
- Robbery: [Stat § 812.13] “Robbery” means the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.
- Carjacking: [Stat § 812.133] “Carjacking” means the taking of a motor vehicle which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the motor vehicle, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.
- Murder and attempted murder: [Stat §§ 782.04, 782.051, 782.065] Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being. The degree of murder charges depends on whether the act was premeditated, committed engaged in the perpetration of another serious crime, and other factors.
- Manslaughter: [Stat §§ 782.07] Manslaughter is the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another when use of force is not justifiable.
- Kidnapping: [ Stat § 787] Florida’s statutes address kidnapping as “confinement, abduction, or imprisonment of another person against (their) will by force, threat of force, or coercion.” The prosecution must prove the suspect’s “willful intent” to commit the crime. If charged as a federal crime, it is prosecuted under 18 US Code § 1201 and brings up to a life sentence or death if the victim is killed.
- Child abuse and aggravated child abuse: [ Stat § 827.03]: “Child abuse” means intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child; an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child; or active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.
Florida Felony Penalties and What They Mean
A felony of the first degree can bring a sentence of up 30 years, and even life in prison and a fine up to $10,000. As previously mentioned, capital murder can result in the death penalty. A second-degree felony conviction can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Third-degree felonies, which are the least serious violent crimes, bring up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine [Fla. Stat. § 775.082, .083, & .084]..
You’ll notice a great deal of latitude in the “open-ended” maximum prison sentences for first- and second-degree felonies. As mentioned, felonies are contextual and based on circumstances in which other serious crimes might also have been committed. So a “top count” of any of the above offenses might have other crimes associated with the charge, such as possession of a deadly weapon or the perpetrator of an aggravated battery may have beaten the victim so severely that he or she is paralyzed. A convicted rapist might have committed the crime with a knife, or a person convicted of aggravated child abuse had two previous convictions for third-degree assault, which makes him a habitual felon. Such penalty enhancements allow for statutory – or judicial discretion – of more years. Life in prison may be the penalty for some cases with a conviction that might normally bring 15 years confinement or less.
A seasoned violent crime lawyer in St. Petersburg can help you fight conviction, negotiate a plea deal, or pursue other options. Goldman Wetzel offers a free evaluation of your case. Contact us at 727-828-3900 or fill out our online contact form to arrange a free evaluation.