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Assault in Florida is defined as the intentional and unlawful threat, either through word or act, to do violence to another.

It must be shown that at the time you made the threat, you had an apparent ability to carry out the threat and that the threat caused the victim to have a well-founded fear that violence was about to take place.

Basically, it you make a threat to do violence to another you could find yourself charged with Assault in Florida. Under Florida law, whether you were just kidding or weren’t serious will not prevent you from being charged and possibly convicted of Assault.

Penalties for an Assault Charge

In Florida, Assault is classified as a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to:
  1. Sixty days in the County Jail;
  2. Six months of supervised probation;
  3. A $500 fine

Defenses to an Assault Charge

In addition to factual defenses that would be raised at trial to show reasonable doubt as to the crime alleged, some common defenses to a Florida Assault charge include:

No ability to carry out the threat at the time it was supposedly made
In order to have committed an Assault in Florida, you must have had an apparent ability to carry out the alleged threat at the time it was made. If there was no apparent ability to carry out the threat at the time it was made, then you will have a legal defense to the Florida Assault charge.

This is often the case when threats are made over the phone, Facebook, or e-mail.

The victim’s fear was not reasonable under the circumstances
Florida law states that the alleged victim must have a “well-founded fear” in order for you to have committed an Assault in Florida. The Florida Assault law does not carve out special exceptions for overly-sensitive people.

Florida law requires that any alleged “fear” must be reasonable and well-founded.

If the alleged victim’s fear is not reasonable and/or well-founded, you wll have an affirmative defense to the Florida Assault charge.


Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Chris Kaigle if you’ve been charged with Assault in Florida!
(407) 545-6416