Violent Crimes

The amount of violent crimes committed in Florida per year has decreased in the last 20 years, even though the population increased by more than four million people. However, 91,703 violent crimes were committed in the state in 2013, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Florida law enforcement agencies have been on high alert for incidents of battery, assault, robbery and other violent crimes. The offenses are considered serious, and a conviction of a violent crime in Fort Lauderdale can lead to serious penalties and a lifetime of repercussions.

Possible consequences of a violent crime conviction include a criminal record, prison or jail time and steep fines. The burden of being convicted of a violent crime could limit your future employment opportunities and could prevent you from being able to receive certain types of government assistance. 

Fort Lauderdale Violent Crime Defense Lawyer

An experienced Fort Lauderdale violent crimes defense lawyer at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. will defend your rights aggressively if you are accused of assault, battery or any other violent crime against another person. The team at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. will work to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

Call Meltzer & Bell, P.A. at (954) 716-8538 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your violent crime charges. Attorneys are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week for your assistance.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents clients throughout Broward County, including in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Davie, Sunrise, Weston and Wilton Manors.


Info on Broward County Crimes of Violence


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Assault and Battery Under Florida Law

Under Florida law, the terms "assault" and "battery" have different meanings. The distinction is significant because they are considered separate crimes. The punishments and penalties for each offense also are different.

According to Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.011, assault is defined as a threat of violence against another person, which can be a threatening act or threatening words. However, to convict a person of assault, prosecutors must prove the accused had the apparent ability to carry out the threat and the fear of harm was imminent.  Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor.

However, battery means any unwanted touching or intentionally causing bodily harm, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.03. A first offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, but a subsequent offense is a third-degree felony. If the victim was severely harmed or disabled, the charges can be upgraded to a third-degree felony.

In Florida, battery also includes domestic battery by strangulation, which is intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood. Strangulation can include holding the throat or blocking the nose or mouth of a family or household member or a person with whom he or she is in a dating relationship. Domestic battery by strangulation is a third-degree felony.

Both assault and battery can be increased to aggravated charges. Aggravated assault means the accused used a deadly weapon, including firearms, or committed the crime with the intent to commit a felony. Aggravated assault is a third-degree felony under Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.021.

Aggravated battery is when the accused intentionally causes bodily harm while using a deadly weapon. The prosecutor has to prove the defendant intended to cause great harm, permanent disability or a disfigurement. 

According to Florida Statutes Annotated § 784.045, a person would commit aggravated battery if the person knew the victim of the battery was pregnant at the time of the offense. Aggravated battery is considered a second-degree felony.

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


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Other Violent Crimes Charges in Broward County

Robbery: Robbery means committing theft or larceny while using force, violence or assault to put the victim in fear during the course of the theft or larceny crime, according to Florida Statutes Annotated § 812.13. Robbery is a second-degree felony, but can be upgraded to a first-degree felony if a weapon was used.

Carjacking: Carjacking is a robbery where the accused steals or tries to steal a motor vehicle. Carjacking is a first-degree felony; however, if a firearm or other weapon was used to commit the crime it could be considered a life felony and result in life in prison.

Manslaughter: According to Florida Statutes Annotated § 782.07, manslaughter is causing the death of a person through negligence without any lawful justification or defense. Manslaughter is not considered murder or homicide. A manslaughter conviction can result in a second-degree felony.

Kidnapping: The term kidnapping means to forcibly or secretly abduct or imprison another person against his or her will under Florida Statutes Annotated § 787.01. Prosecutors must prove the accused intended to hold the victim hostage, commit a felony, inflict harm, use the victim as a shield, terrorize the victim or to 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, molested, raped or exploited.

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 or guardian's wishes. It is a third-degree felony.


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Penalties for Violent Crimes in Broward County

In Florida, unless the crime has a specific penalty assigned to it, crimes are punished according to how they are graded. Violent crime penalties in Broward County are broad and can range from a second-degree misdemeanor to a life felony. If convicted, you may face:

  • 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

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Broward County Crimes of Violence Resources

Florida Statutes Annotated, Chapter 784: This chapter of state law covers assault and battery, including the many permutations of the ways charges may be increased.

Florida Statutes Annotated, Chapter 787: Kidnapping, false imprisonment, luring a child and human trafficking are covered by this chapter of state law.

Florida Statutes Annotated, Chapter 782: The different forms of homicide charges, including murder and manslaughter, are prohibited in this chapter.


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Finding the Best Violent Crime Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

Assault, battery and other violent crime convictions could change your life forever. It is critical you fight the charges with a skilled and experienced Fort Lauderdale violent crime defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Call (954) 716-8538 to schedule a free consultation with one of the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A..