Crimes of Violence

Any criminal offense that involves physical harm against a person or even the threat of harm is treated with the utmost seriousness under Florida law.  They carry severe penalties, and anyone convicted has a criminal record that may forever brand them as a dangerous person — someone an employer doesn't want around the workplace and a landlord wouldn't want around the property.

If you face charges of any type of violent crime, a dedicated attorney can fight for your freedom, who will work to show the holes in the case against you.

West Palm Beach Violent Crimes Lawyer

An experienced West Palm Beach violence crimes lawyer at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. will zealously defend your rights if you are accused of assault, battery or any other crime against another person. We will be your side and fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

The partners are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for our clients. Call us today at (561) 283-3259 to set up a free consultation to talk to us about your charges.

Our clients include people arrested anywhere in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Greenacres, Royal Palm Beach, Juno Beach, Belle Glade, Wellington, Palm Beach Gardens or Jupiter.

We also represent clients in Miami-Dade County and Broward County.


Info on Violence Crime Charges in South Florida


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Assault vs. Battery Under Florida Law

Many people do not know there is a distinction between assault and battery, or they lump them together as "assault and battery." However, under Florida law, they are actually two separate offenses.

Assault is defined in Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.011 as a threat of violence against another person. To convict a person of assault, prosecutors must prove that accused had the apparent ability to carry out the threat, and the person must have a well-founded fear that the harm was imminent. Assault is a second degree misdemeanor.

Battery, however, means any sort of unwanted touching or intentionally causing bodily harm, under Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.03. A first offense is  first degree misdemeanor. A subsequent offense is a third degree felony. If the victim suffered great harm or permanent disability, the charges are also upgraded to a third degree felony.

Both assault and battery can be upgraded to aggravated offenses. Aggravated assault means that the accused used a deadly weapon or committed the assault with the intent to committing a felony. It is a third degree felony (Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.021).

Aggravated battery is a battery in which the prosecutor can prove that the defendant intended to cause great harm or permanent disability or disfigurement, or where a deadly weapon was used. It is a second degree felony (Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.045).

Any assault or battery on a law enforcement officer (LEO), including local police or a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy, or other public servant, the charges will be upgraded one degree above.


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Other Criminal Accusations Involving Violence

Robbery: Under Florida Statutes Annotated § 812.13, robbery involves committing theft or larceny and using force, violence, assault or otherwise putting the victim in fear in the course of committing the theft or larceny. It is a second degree felony, but can be upgraded to a first degree felony if a gun or knife was used.

Carjacking: Carjacking is a robbery in which the object stolen or that the accused attempted to steal is a motor vehicle (Florida Statutes Annotated § 812.133). It is a first degree felony. If a firearm or weapon was used, the sentence may be up to life in prison.

Kidnapping: Confining, abducting or imprisoning another person forcibly, secretly or by threat is called kidnapping under Florida Statutes Annotated § 787.01. Prosecutors must prove that the accused intended to hold the victim hostage, use the victim as a shield, inflict harm, terrorize the victim or interfere with a government or political function.

Kidnapping is a first degree felony that may be upgraded to a life felony if the victim was younger than 13 and was abused or raped.

False Imprisonment: Under Florida Statutes Annotated § 787.02, false imprisonment is a crime involving restraining, imprisoning or abducting a person by force or by threat of force. If the victim was younger than 13, then the imprisonment could be against the parent's wishes. It is a third degree felony.


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Punishment for Violent Crimes in Palm Beach County

Unless the crime has a specific penalty assigned to it, crimes in Florida are punished according to how they are graded:

  • Life Felony: Life in prison, or at least 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000
  • First Degree Felony: Up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Second Degree Felony: Up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Third Degree Felony: Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
  • First Degree Misdemeanor: Up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • Second Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500

Additionally, some violent crimes can never be expunged from a person's record, including aggravated assault, aggravated battery, robbery and kidnapping.


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Finding a Palm Beach County Violent Crimes Attorney

Assault, battery and other violent crimes could leave a stain on your record long after you get out of prison. It is critical that you fight the charges. A skilled West Palm Beach County violent crimes attorney can help you. Call Meltzer & Bell, P.A. today at (561) 283-3259 to set up a free consultation.

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