D. Scott Rieth Criminal Defense Attorney
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Which victims will make assault charges more severe in Florida?

Floridians who are confronted with assault charges or battery charges will understandably be concerned about the potential long-term consequences and penalties they will face if they are convicted. However, what they might not know is that certain circumstances will raise the level of charges and accompanying penalties. The increased severity of the penalties will occur if the victim is a specific official or employee. Those who are arrested on these enhanced charges should understand the law itself and prepare for a defense.

Assaulting, committing aggravated assault, battery or aggravated battery will lead to more significant charges if it is against an elected official or someone who is employed by a public or private school, a school district, a university, is a sports official or is someone who works in protective services for the Department of Health. The alleged perpetrator must have been aware of the victim's employment status for the enhanced charges.

The charges will rise as follows: if it is aggravated battery, it will become a felony of the first degree from a felony of the second degree; if it is aggravated assault, it will rise to a felony of the second degree from a felony of the third degree; if it is battery, it will rise to a felony of the third degree from a misdemeanor of the third degree; if it is assault, it will rise to a misdemeanor of the first degree from a misdemeanor of the second degree.

A sports official is a person who is an umpire, a referee or someone who functions in another capacity at a sporting event and is part of an organization that provides education and trains these officials. Any of the above charges committed against a sports official will be subject to worsened charges if it occurs while the person is participating in a sporting event as it is happening or immediately after the sporting event.

Given the emotions that are involved in scholastic athletic competitions or surrounding issues related to students, it is not unusual that disputes arise and people are alleged to have committed assault and battery. With the worsened charges and potential penalties when it is committed against people working in a school-related capacity, it is important that those who are arrested understand their rights regarding criminal law, so they can plan a strong defense.

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