Not all assaults are equal in the eyes of the law. If the police arrest you after an altercation with someone, you might be surprised to find out that they wish to charge you not just with assault but with aggravated assault.
An aggravating factor is something that makes the alleged crime worse in the eyes of the law. As a result, a conviction will carry more severe consequences than a mere assault charge would – although that in itself is serious enough.
Florida laws consider two aggravating factors
The first is if the court considers you intended to commit a felony. The second is if you used a deadly weapon in the assault. Note that if the court finds you were using a weapon with the intent to kill someone, you would face much more serious charges.
How do you define a weapon?
You might assume the law just means a gun or a knife when they say a deadly weapon. However, some judges have interpreted it to mean much more than this. For example, if someone drove a car at someone or hit them with a brick or a pool ball, the prosecution might argue that it was pretty clear that the item could cause death.
Prosecutors often push for a higher charge, such as aggravated assault, in an attempt to get someone to accept a plea deal for a lesser charge, such as assault. Learning more about your legal options can help you decide whether they have a realistic chance of convicting you on either charge and what your defense options are.