Generally speaking, a violent crime refers to an act against a person or property that is intended to cause physical harm or to threaten, inflict, or attempt such harm. If convicted, an offender who commits a violent crime can be sentenced to years of state prison under Florida criminal law. A permanent criminal record and lost civil rights are additional consequences for the defendant. Crimes of this kind usually carry the fullest legal consequences due to their seriousness.

Florida judges tend to favor plaintiffs in violent crimes because of the seriousness of the crimes. The criminal defense attorneys at David Williams have years of experience protecting the rights of defendants in Florida. This is because we know how the law functions and how the opposition structures its arguments. No matter what the prosecution throws at you, we’re prepared to fight back.


Types of Violent Crimes

Several criminal activities are commonly categorized as violent crimes due to the broad definition of a violent crime. These include:

  • Homicide – The unlawful killing of an individual, which includes murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, and manslaughters in the third degree, which includes act, procurement, or careless negligence.
  • Robbery – Taking money or other property by force, violence, assault, or evoking fear with the intention of temporarily or permanently removing the material from the rightful owner.
  • Defining an assault, it is the unlawful and intentional threat to harm another person in a way that seems likely to result in physical harm. A person who commits aggravated assault does so with the intent of committing a felony or with the use of a deadly weapon.
  • Battery – Specifically, the act of intentionally striking or touching another person against their will or the act of intentionally causing harm.
  • Kidnapping – The act of forcing or coercing another person to be taken, imprisoned, or confine without lawful authority or justification.
  • Child Abuse – Involving injury or traumatic trauma to a child as a result of a guardian’s actions or failure to act.
  • Conspiracy to Commit Violent Crime – Whether an act of violence is committed or not is not relevant.

Victims of violent crimes should be prosecuted and punished

Depending on the crime, the penalties may vary, but first-degree murder is the only conviction that can result in death. A lifetime prison sentence of more than 30 years is the next most severe sentence. A conviction for either of these crimes may result in both penalties. For the prosecution to demonstrate that the punishments being pursued are, in fact, appropriate, expert and witness testimony, as well as any available evidence will be used to prove the defendant is guilty. As a response to such severe punishments, a Florida violence crime attorney will rebut the testimony of the prosecution and provide evidence that the defendant is innocent or that the punishments are excessive and unusual.

Homicide (committing an act of murder) 

Murder is defined by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 782.04 (1-2) as any premeditated, illegal act committed against another person. Besides murder (alone), perpetrators may also commit burglaries, kidnappings, sexual assaults, aggravated child abuse, carjackings, home invasion robberies, or any other crime that involves physical or verbal violence. 

In addition to murder (including terrorism and drugging) being processed as a federal crime, any act of terrorism will also be prosecuted. In the event of an unlawful death, the perpetrator will be charged with life imprisonment and second degree murder. 

The person who commits a crime (if murder was not the original intent as determined by the court) will be charged with 3rd-degree murder (2nd-degree felony), which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000. 

Making a suicidal person feel better 

Any individual who attempts to help someone commit self-murder is punishable with manslaughter (2nd-degree felony) by imprisonment for 15 years, and by a fine of not more than $10,000 if convicted.   

The commission of an act of vehicular homicide 

The purpose of vehicular homicide, according to Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 782.01, is to kill another human being or unborn child by the means of a vehicle (e.g. car, truck). The following code outlines the punishment for a crime under certain circumstances: 

  • Chapter 782.01(a): Under state law, vehicular homicide is a 2nd-degree felony punishable by a maximum 15-year jail sentence and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000. 
  • Chapter 782.01(b): (During the time of the crash) the culprit knew the crash was occurring and did not attempt to help the victims, a 1st-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years’ imprisonment and/or fine of anything between $10,000 to $15,000..

The commission of a robbery 

As defined in Title XLVI Chapter 812.13(1), robbery occurs when an individual steals (or attempts to steal) money or other private property from their owner, either temporarily or permanently, in order to prevent them from obtaining the property. A variety of charges can be brought against the crime’s perpetrator in accordance with its severity: 

  • Chapter 812.13(2a): The person who committed the crime would be charged with a 1st-degree felony, punishable by between a 30-year prison sentence and a $10,000-$15,000 fine if they were armed with a firearm or other deadly weapon while the theft was taking place.
  • Chapter 813.13(2b): In the case of a criminal act committed with a weapon, the perpetrator will be charged with a first-degree felony, punishable by a minimum penalty of 30 years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000 to $15,000.
  • Chapter 812.13(2c): The offender will be charged with a 2nd-degree felony if he/she did not possess a firearm during the robbery, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. 

Assault on a Victim 

Chapter 784.011, Florida Statute Title XLVI defines assault as the deliberate and illegal threat of violence, assault or act of violence committed against a victim (or victims) and having the ability to conduct that violence, creating fear in the potential victim of a violent attack. In these cases, the defendant will be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum 60-day sentence at the prison or a fine not exceeding $500. 

Consequently, any person committing an act of aggravated assault (utilizing a weapon in order to abuse or injure another person) will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a maximum 5-year prison sentence. 

Having committed a battery offense

Title XLVI Chapter 784.03 of Florida Statutes outlines what constitutes battery as touching or striking another person against their will intentionally and maliciously. In the state of West Virginia, a person convicted of battery is charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.

 Those who were previously convicted and then commit a second (or subsequent) act of battery will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a maximum 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $5,000. 

Chapter 784.041 defines felony battery as intentional and malicious harm inflicted on a person that leaves them with permanent bodily injury, disability, or disfigurement. A 3rd-degree felony in this case can carry a punishment of up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000 for the guilty party. 

An aggravated battery is defined in Chapter 784.045 as when a culprit (completing battery) inflicts physical injury on a person in addition to deploying a deadly weapon in the process. (Aggravated battery can also occur if the culprit should have known that the female victim was pregnant or knew they were pregnant). Aggravated battery offenders are sentenced to endure a 15-year prison sentence and a fine that cannot exceed $10,000. 

Kidnapping of a victim 

A kidnapping is defined as a violent, threatening, or coercive act of forcibly taking, imprisoning, or holding against their will a victim (or victims) with the intention of: 

  • Harness the victim as a hostage or hold him/her for ransom. 
  • Having committed any type of felony.
  • An individual who physically harms and/or terrorizes his/her victim. 
  • Interfering with government functions. 

KEEPING VICTIMS AND GOING AWAY WITH THEM: Some states punish by a 30-year prison sentence for kidnapping victims (for the aforementioned reasons), while others punish by a fine that does not exceed $10,000 to $15,000. 

Child kidnapping 

Any person who kidnaps a victim age 13 or younger without consent is punishable by a life felony or a fine not exceeding $15,000 (depending on the severity of the crime) under Chapter 787.01:

  • A child has been abused in a severe way
  • Child sexual abuse
  • A battery, molestation, act, or display that is lewd or lascivious
  • Prostitution of children 
  • Children being exploited
  • Human trafficking 

Child abuse is an act of violence against a child

In Florida Statutes, Title XLVI Chapter 827.03 defines child abuse as potentially harmful physical and/or mental acts perpetrated against a juvenile (resulting in either their physical or mental suffering). Also included here is the act of inciting or provoking another person to commit these acts on a child victim. 

Depending on the severity of the offense, the following charges may apply: 

  • Aggravated child abuse: Anyone caught committing this offense faces a felony charge of the first degree, punishable by 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000-$15,000
  • Child neglect: Consequent to the willful and malicious neglecting of a child (resulting in bodily or mental harm), a 2nd-degree felony with a maximum 15-year prison sentence and/or $100,000 fine will be charged.
  • Abusing , but not injuring, a child is considered a 3rd-degree felony. If found guilty, the offender will be sentenced to five years in prison and/or a fine of no more than $5,000
  • Child neglect (no injury): Those who criminally neglect a child without causing bodily injury to the victim will be sent to prison for no more than five years and/or fined up to $5,000. 

A Florida man is accused of conspiring to commit a violent crime 

A person charged with conspiracy to commit a crime for agreeing to commit a crime or working with another person to do so is defined in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 777.04(3). Generally, the courts consider low-ranking conspiracies to be crimes of the first degree, resulting in a sentence not exceeding a year in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $1,000. As a result, if that crime qualifies as a capital felony, it is punishable by a 30-year prison sentence and/or a fine not exceeding $10,000-$15,000 for those responsible. 

Florida Violent Crimes: How to Determine a Viable Case 

The links below provide a summary of how juries were instructed regarding the aforementioned crimes, such as: 

  • Chapter 6: Attempted Homicide 
  • Chapter 7: Homicide
  • Chapter 8: Assault and Battery
  • Chapter 9: Kidnapping and imprisonment 
  • Chapter 16: Child abuse 

Violent Crimes: A Strong Legal Defense

An individual’s life and career will be affected by a conviction for violent crime for a considerable time following their release. If you are facing a criminal charge in Florida, don’t be afraid to seek the help of a serious criminal defense attorney. The legal team at David Williams can fight your conviction because it has the necessary experience and resources.