What Constitutes A Violent Crime In Florida?
A violent crime or crime of violence is one in which an offender uses or threatens force upon a victim. This entails both crimes in which the violent act is the objective, as well as crimes in which violence is the means to an end. Violent crimes may, or may not be committed with weapons. It is important to note that all violent crimes are both state and federal criminal offenses.
However, the federal government prosecutes violent crimes usually because it is connected with some other federal crime, or an act of violence against a federal employee or official. As such, most violent crimes in Florida are investigated and prosecuted by the state and local authorities. Violent crimes are investigated and prosecuted by the local sheriff, local police departments, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol and the State Attorney’s Office. Federal violent crimes are investigated and prosecuted by various agencies, including the FBI, DEA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ATF and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Some common violent crimes include:
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Aggravated battery
- Battery on a law enforcement officer
- Domestic violence and battery
- Resisting arrest with violence
- Home invasion – robbery
- Stalking – aggravated stalking
- Shooting or throwing a deadly missile
- False imprisonment
- Felony murder
- Murder (first and second degree)
- Sexual battery – sexual battery on a child
What Do You Need To Know Immediately Following Your Arrest?
Being arrested for a violent crime is serious and can have lifelong consequences. The first thing to remember if you are arrested for such a crime is how important it is to exercise your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. These rights, typically called Miranda rights, are a very powerful tool because, once they are invoked, law enforcement MUST stop
It cannot be stressed how important the right to remain silent is because law enforcement is not your friend if they are arresting you, and no matter how much they will try to make it appear like they “only want to help” you, once they have, anything you say will be used against you in court.
Similarly, the right to an attorney, which is an equally powerful right, must be exercised upon your arrest. When one invokes their right to counsel, all interrogation by law enforcement outside the presence of an attorney is strictly prohibited. Of course, when invoking these rights, one must do so in such a way that law enforcement will clearly understand as that
is the best way to ensure it will take effect.
Associated Penalties For Violent Crimes
Even though violent crimes range from being misdemeanors (the least serious) to felonies (the most serious), an arrest for any violent crime has serious and lifelong consequences. Indeed, the possible penalties for violent crimes may include imprisonment ranging from one day to as much as LIFE, or even DEATH in some circumstances, heavy fines, and periods of probation.
Florida has also implemented mandatory minimum sentences for violent career criminals and habitual violent felons. In Florida, such mandatory minimum sentences include prison terms of 5, 15, 30 years to LIFE imprisonment. In addition to these legal penalties, a violent crime conviction can have other serious consequences.
A violent crime conviction will affect employment opportunities as most employers run background checks before hiring and often do not even give persons with criminal records a chance for an interview much less employment. In addition, under federal and Florida law, one convicted of a violent crime may no longer possess and/or purchase a firearm. Worse, in Florida, one convicted of a violent crime may also no longer vote as convicted felons in Florida are strictly prohibited from voting. It may also impact an individual’s ability to keep or obtain a license such as a professional license (doctor, lawyer, teacher, law enforcement). A criminal conviction, especially a felony conviction, even though totally unrelated to the practice
of any profession, may impact the ability to hold that license, and may result in a revocation.
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