In Florida, crimes involving Firearms and other Deadly Weapons will often be based not on the weapon, but in how the weapon was either used or how it was handled. If the weapon is not fired, and the weapon was not used to physically hurt someone, the manner in which the weapon was handled can have a significant impact on the potential charge and punishment.
An Aggravated Assault with a Firearm (or other Deadly Weapon) is a 3⁰ Felony punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison, if the prosecutor can prove the following:
- An intentional, unlawful threat by word or act of violence to someone,
- With the apparent ability to do so,
- Perform an act creating a well founded fear that violence is imminent,
- The threat was made with a Firearm, but without the intent to kill, or with the intent to commit a felony.
Fla. Stat. §784.021
While an Improper Exhibition of a Firearm (or other Deadly Weapon) is a 1⁰ Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in the county jail if the prosecutor can prove the following:
- A person is carrying a firearm, sword, electric weapon or other weapon,
- In the presence of one or more persons,
- Show the weapon in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner,
- Not in self defense.
Fla. Stat. § 790.10
While the definitions may seem like there is a significant difference between these two firearm charges, practically speaking the main difference is was the weapon produced in a way to illegally scare someone, or was the weapon produced so that someone knows that you have the weapon as a threat. Neither of these criminal charges involving the demonstrable use of a weapon applies in matters of self-defense.
The Experienced Tampa Defense Attorneys at Taracks & Associates know that facts matter in these types of cases. If you are facing a weapons charge contact Taracks & Associates for your Free Consultation at 813-281-2897 so that we can discuss the facts of your pending firearm charge, and lay the groundwork to protect your freedom, your livelihood and your reputation.
For example, one of the defenses to a charge of Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, is Florida’s Stand Your Ground defense? Other defenses to this charge can include:
- Justifiable Use of Force in Defense of Others or Property,
- Inability to carry out the threat,
- Fear of imminent violence not justified,
- Lack of intent to threaten
If you have been arrested or you are the subject of a firearm or weapon charge, gathering as many facts as possible as early as possible in a case can make the difference. Where there other witnesses who saw what lead up to your weapon being produced that the law enforcement officer did not interview? Do you have any information about the conduct of the person who called the police that the police ignored?
Did this happen on the roadway, and was the manner of the other driver’s conduct threatening to you? Getting details including the route you were driving, the comparable size of the vehicles and other factors that the officer may not consider relevant can have a huge impact on which available defense will allow a for the best outcome.
Once a law enforcement officer makes an arrest, the case is then reviewed by the Office of the State Attorney to decide whether to proceed on the charges placed by the arresting officer. If there are other facts/witnesses or other issues that establish that the manner that you presented you weapon was in self-defense rather than to improperly scare someone, our office knows the best way to provide this information on your behalf.
Can there be a plea negotiation based upon additional facts that will save your job and your freedom? Aggravated Assault with a Firearm has several misdemeanors that prosecutors might agree to file rather than the felony Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. We will use our extensive experience to discuss these options with you, and agree on which lesser offense we may pursue.
Contact one of the Tampa Weapon Defense Attorneys at Taracks & Associates at 813-281-2897. During this Free Consultation we will discuss not only the facts of your case, but the other circumstances that prosecutors need to know to properly decide if your charges should be dropped or lessened. Once we are retained, our team will work toward the goals that we discussed to protect your reputation, livelihood and your freedom.