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Violent Crimes

Violent crime lawyer in Tallahassee

As the name implies, violent crimes are considered criminal offenses that are violent in nature. This can include threatening another person, physically hitting or inflicting pain on another person, or more serious circumstances such as manslaughter and murder.

Florida law provides stiff penalties for any crime of violence. Law enforcement agencies are on high alert for incidents of violent crimes, and they will not hesitate to make an arrest. As violent crimes are often considered a threat to society, they are often fiercely prosecuted. The consequences of being charged with a violent crime can be long and excruciating. You may be faced with expensive fines and lengthy prison sentences. In the most severe of cases, you could be facing the death penalty.

Due to the punitive approach Florida takes regarding violent offenses, your best defense requires retaining an experienced violent crime defense lawyer as early as possible during the process. Skilled legal representation can help you invoke your right to remain silent, negotiate the terms of your surrender and bond and fight for you during the period after your arrest.

Attorney for Violent Crimes in Tallahassee, FL

If you are facing charges for a violent crime, contact a criminal defense lawyer at Pumphrey Law in Tallahassee. A conviction for a violent crime can have serious repercussions. Our attorneys can use their years of experience in the legal field to help you get the best possible results in your case. Violent crime convictions can change your life, but a skilled attorney can help you fight the charges.

Pumphrey Law represents individuals charged with crimes of violence throughout Tallahassee in Leon County, and the surrounding areas, including Gadsden County, Wakulla County, Liberty County and Jefferson County. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with the legal team at Pumphrey Law, call (850) 681-7777 or send us an online message today.

Violent Crimes in Florida Information Center

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What are Violent Crimes?

A “crime of violence” is defined as either:

  1. An offense with the element of the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property or another; or
  2. Any other offense that, by nature, creates a substantial risk of danger due to the risk of physical force being used against the person or property of another while committing an offense.

The National Institution of Justice (NIJ) provides the additional definition of a violent crime: A criminal offense where a victim is harmed by or threatened with violence.

Data on Violent Crimes in Florida

Each year the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) provides an annual report on the crimes reported by law enforcement agencies. FDLE reported the following information pertaining to violent crimes during 2021:

  • Total Violent Crimes – 80,823
  • Adults arrested for violent crimes – 30,473
  • Juveniles arrested for violent crimes – 2,594
  • Males arrested for violent crimes – 25,954
  • Females arrested for violent crimes – 7,113

Additionally, the 2021 FDLE report provided the following data on specific offense totals:

  • Murder – 1,110 offenses
  • Sexual Battery – 8,700 offenses
  • Robbery – 11,155 offenses
  • Aggravated Assault – 59,858 offenses
  • Burglary – 44,207 offenses
  • Larceny – 266,798 offenses

You can review the 2021 FDLE report in its entirety here.

Common Violent Crimes

Florida law provides numerous charges for offenses considered “crimes of violence.” Offenses that involve a threat, use of force, or some form of physicality that occurs between the victim and the offender are deemed violent crimes.

There are several violent crimes that can be charged as misdemeanors. However, more often than not, violent crimes are charged as felonies.

Examples of violent misdemeanor crimes in Florida include:

  • Simple Assault Florida Statute Section 784.011 explains that a defendant can be charged with simple assault for threatening to conduct violence on another person, by word or by actions, and where the threat is coupled with the apparent ability to do so that creates a well-founded fear in the victim. Simple assault can be charged as a second- or first-degree misdemeanor. Important: The defendant does not have to physically harm or even touch the victim to be charged with this offense. The threat, if proven to be intentional, unlawful, and provokes fear out of another person, is grounds to be charged with simple assault.
  • Simple BatteryFlorida Statute Section 784.03 explains that a defendant can be charged with simple battery for actually and intentionally touching or striking another person against their will, or if they intentionally cause physical harm to another person. A defendant charged with simple battery faces a first-degree misdemeanor. However, a defendant with a prior conviction faces a third-degree felony.
  • Domestic ViolenceA domestic violence crime is considered when a person causes harm or threatens violence against their family member(s). A simple form of domestic battery can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • StalkingFlorida Statute Section 784.048 explains stalking as when a person willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person. A simple stalking charge is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Examples of violent felony crimes in Florida include:

  • Aggravated AssaultFlorida Statutes Section 021 defines aggravated Assault similarly to simple assault, but with the added elements of the use of a deadly weapon without the intent to kill, or with the intent to commit a felony. Aggravated assault is charged as a third-degree felony. If the defendant uses a weapon deemed to be deadly, they can be charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Florida
  • Felony Battery – Florida Statute Section 784.041 defines felony battery as when a battery offense results in the actual and intentional touching of another person, and causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement. This statute also covers domestic battery by strangulation. Both offenses are charged as a third-degree felony.
  • Aggravated BatteryFlorida Statute Section 784.045 explains that a defendant can be charged with aggravated battery when, in committing a battery offense, the defendant either uses a deadly weapon or intentionally causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.  It is also considered aggravated battery upon a pregnant woman whom the offender knew or should have known was pregnant. Aggravated battery is charged as a second-degree felony.
  • RobberyFlorida Statute Section 812.13 defines robbery as the taking of money or other property from someone with the intent to keep it, either permanently or temporarily. Robbery can also involve force, violence, assault or somehow putting the other person in fear. Robbery is charged as a second-degree felony, or as a first-degree felony if the defendant is accused of carrying a firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapon.
  • ManslaughterFlorida Statute Section 782.07 defines manslaughter as the killing of another human being, either through the act or culpable negligence of another without and type of justification. Manslaughter is typically charged as a second-degree felony. However, if the defendant was accused of manslaughter where the victim was an elderly person, disabled adult, minor, or officer, then it is charged as a first-degree felony.
  • Murder / HomicideFlorida Statute Section 782.04 defines murder as the unlawful killing of another person, either through premeditation, during another felony, during the distribution of banned controlled substances or by acting indifferently to human life. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a conviction of murder or homicide can result in being charged with a second-degree felony, a first-degree felony, or a capital felony.

Penalties for Violent Crimes

The penalties for violent crimes can vary depending on the type of crime committed and the circumstances surrounding the offense. For example, someone can be sentenced to jail, prison, be required to pay fines, be placed on probation, receive court-ordered counseling, complete community service hours, and even face the possibility of a death sentence.

Violent crimes also have a long-lasting effect on your personal life. The consequences of a violent crime conviction can affect future career opportunities, financial aid, and school admissions. A person convicted of a violent crime will have their personal relationships altered as well, with friends and family now viewing you as a “hot head” or an untrustworthy person. Having a violent crime conviction may also affect your ability to possess a firearm in Florida.

While the exact penalties will vary based on the offense, we’ve provided the general consequences for each type of misdemeanor and felony offense:

  • Second-degree misdemeanor – Conviction carries up to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
  • First-degree misdemeanor – Conviction carries up to a $1,000 fine and up to one year of imprisonment.
  • Third-degree felony – Conviction carries up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years of imprisonment.
  • Second-degree felony – Conviction carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years of imprisonment.
  • First-degree felony – Conviction carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to 30 years of imprisonment.
  • Life felony – Conviction carries up to a $15,000 fine and the possibility of life in prison without parole.
  • Capital felony – Conviction results in either life in prison without parole or the death penalty. To find out more about capital punishment and the recent changes made in Florida, read our informative page here.

Classifications of Violent Offenders

Individuals who are convicted of multiple violent offenses in Florida may be classified as either a habitual violent felony offender, a three-time violent felony offender, or a violent career criminal.

Florida Statute Section 775.084 provides the definitions and terms for each type of recurring violent offender:

  • Habitual violent felony offender – A defendant who has previously been convicted of a felony or attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony, with at least one previous conviction as a violent felony. The felony that resulted in the sentence must have been committed while the defendant was serving a sentence, or within five years from the defendant’s last felony conviction or release date. The defendant may not have been pardoned on the ground of innocence for any previously convicted crime. The court may impose an extended term of imprisonment as follows:
    • Life felony or first-degree felony: Sentence of life in prison, with the offender being ineligible for release for 15 years.
    • Second-degree felony: Sentence of a term not exceeding 30 years, with the offender being ineligible for release for 10 years.
    • Third-degree felony: Sentence of a term not exceeding 10 years, with the offender being ineligible for release for 5 years.
  • Three-time violent felony offender – A defendant who has previously been convicted of two or more felonies, or the attempt or conspiracy to commit a violent felony. The convictions must have occurred while the defendant was an adult and must have been committed while the defendant was serving a sentence, or within five years from the defendant’s last felony conviction or release date. The defendant may not have been pardoned on the ground of innocence for any previously convicted crime. The court must impose the mandatory minimum prison sentences as follows:
    • Life felony: A term of imprisonment for life.
    • First-degree felony: A term of imprisonment for 30 years.
    • Second-degree felony: A term of imprisonment for 15 years.
    • Third-degree felony: A term of imprisonment for 5 years.
  • Violent career criminal – A defendant who has previously been convicted of three or more of the following offenses:
    • Any forcible felony;
    • Aggravated stalking;
    • Aggravated child abuse;
    • Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
    • Lewd or lascivious acts;
    • Escape; or
    • A felony violation under Chapter 790 involving the use or possession of a firearm.

The convictions must have occurred while the defendant was an adult and after they have already been incarcerated in a state or federal prison. The primary offense for the defendant to be sentenced to must have been committed on or after October 1, 1995, while the defendant was serving a sentence or within five years from the defendant’s last felony conviction or release date. The defendant may not have been pardoned on the ground of innocence for any previously convicted crime. The court must impose the following sentencing as follows:

  • Life felony or first-degree felony: The court shall sentence the violent career criminal to life imprisonment.
  • Second-degree felony: The court shall sentence the violent career criminal to up to 40 years of imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum term of 30 years of imprisonment.
  • Third-degree felony: The court shall sentence the violent career criminal to up to 15 years of imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum term of 10 years of imprisonment.

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Defenses to Violent Crimes

In certain situations, there may be defenses you can apply to your case to fight the violent crime charge(s) against you. These defenses can help you avoid a conviction or have the charges reduced to a lesser included offense. It’s important to address that defenses are not available in every instance but a skilled violent crime defense attorney with Pumphrey Law can help you examine the unique facts of your case and see what the best defense would be. While each case will vary in its details and therefore its applicable defenses, the following lists some common defenses that can be applied to violent crime cases:

  • Self-defense
    A person can defend himself or herself with deadly force if he or she has reason to believe the person’s conduct was likely going to cause death or serious bodily injury. Non-deadly force can be used if the defendant believed it was necessary to defend himself or herself against someone’s conduct against them.
  • Defense of others
    A person accused of committing a violent crime can use the defense that they reasonably believed force was necessary to defend someone against the conduct of another person. Again, deadly force may be permitted in situations where the person reasonably believed death or serious body injury was likely about to happen to the person they defended.
  • Defense of property
    A person can use justifiable force if an intruder unlawfully enters the person’s home, residence, or occupied vehicle.

If you have questions pertaining to your violent crime charge or the potential defenses to use against it, contact the defense attorneys with Pumphrey Law Firm.

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Tallahassee Violent Crime Defense Lawyer

If you are under investigation for a violent crime in Florida, it is in your best interest to work with a defense attorney who is experienced with all types of violent offenses. Given the nature of the crime being “violent,” you will need a defense team who is aggressive in and out of the courtroom, searching for holes or inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case.

 When you hire the Tallahassee defense attorneys with Pumphrey Law, we will work tirelessly with you to establish the applicable defenses to your case. Our goal is to clear your name so you can get back to your life. Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome in your case and help you avoid serious punishments.

Contact our office today at (850) 681-7777 to speak with an attorney or leave us a message on our website to find out the necessary steps to take to get your case started with us.


Page last updated December 13, 2023

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