Assault charges are serious enough on their own without the additional penalties that can attach when they are elevated from misdemeanors to felony violent crimes. Sarasota residents may face simple assault charges if they are alleged to have taken actions that would make their alleged victims have a reasonable fear for their safety. Under certain conditions, though, a basic assault charge may be elevated to an aggravated assault charge, which can carry with it more serious penalties and consequences for the alleged perpetrator.
For example, if a person allegedly used a dangerous weapon during the commission of the alleged assault, he or she may find that prosecutors wish to pursue more serious aggravated assault charges instead of simple assault. Additionally, if the alleged perpetrator of the assault inflicted significant harm upon the alleged victim, a straightforward assault charge may be raised to an aggravated assault.
Who the alleged perpetrator targets, and what the intended effect on the alleged victim is can change simple assault charges into aggravated assault. If the alleged perpetrator selected a victim because the victim was a public servant or a member of a protected class, then the alleged targeting of the person may be enough to make the charges more serious. If the alleged perpetrator reveals that he or she intended to kill the victim during the commission of the assault, that may be sufficient to increase the charges and applicable penalties if he or she is found guilty.
If convicted of aggravated assault, a people may lose personal rights and be forced to give up their freedom in order to serve time in prison. Individuals in this difficult situation can, however, aggressively fight their charges and contest the claims made by prosecutors on their cases. With the help of criminal defense attorneys, some individuals may avoid conviction and prevent the significant losses that they may have been forced to endure if they were found guilty of aggravated assault.