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Violent Crimes

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent clients on a variety of serious violent crimes charged in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL, and the surrounding areas. Important defenses exist in these cases including self-defense or Florida's stand your ground protections.

Violent crimes involving allegations of mayhem or malice present unique challenges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors spend more time and resources on violent crimes. Jurors are often more likely to convict when someone was physically injured. The court can impose harsh penalties after a conviction.

For all of these reasons, criminal defense attorney must work hard to fight these charges by crafting and litigating motions to uncover exculpatory evidence, suppressing unreliable eyewitness identifications, and presenting complex self-defense claims.

Attorneys for Violent Crimes in Tampa, FL

If you are charged with a crime of violence then contact our attorneys today for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case in Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Polk County, Pinellas County or Hernando County, FL.

Our attorneys are experienced in defending clients in prosecutions for serious felony and misdemeanor violent crimes. Let us put our experience to work for you. With offices in downtown Tampa and in New Port Richey, we are here to help.

Call us at 813-250-0500 to discuss your case.


Types of Violent Crimes in Florida

A crime of violence is an accusation that a person used violence or threatened to use violence on the victim. The charges and penalties are generally more serious if a weapon is used or if the victim suffered any injury.

The following different types of charges are commonly prosecuted in Hillsborough County:

  • false imprisonment - Under § 787.02, Fla. Stat., false imprisonment means that a person, acting without legal authority to do so, forcibly, secretly or by threat either confined, abducted, imprisoned or restrained the victim against the victim’s will;
  • domestic violence;
  • resisting an officer with violence;
  • battery on a law enforcement officer;
  • making a written threat to kill;
  • battery by strangulation; or

Enhanced penalties apply if the crime is classified as a hate crime, if the alleged victim was injured, or if a weapon or firearm was used in the commission of the offense.


Statistics on Violent Crimes by County

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report (FBI UCR) includes crime statistics classified for four different types of categories of crime considered "violent crimes" including:

  • murder and non-negligent manslaughter;
  • forcible rape;
  • robbery; and
  • aggravated assault.

Aggravated assaults accounted for the highest number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement agencies. In fact, 62.4 percent of the reported crimes were for aggravated assaults according to the statistics compiled by the FBI in 2011.

Local crime rates in Tampa show a population of approximately 350,758 residents. The local crime statistics showing the rates of violent crimes reported to law enforcement for the City of Tampa area generally higher than the national averages.


Tampa violent crime rates

                             MURDER              RAPE              ROBBERY              ASSAULT
REPORT TOTAL         23                     47                    574                    1,540
RATE PER 1,000       0.07                  0.13                 1.64                      4.39


Resisting With or Without Violence

In Florida, one of the most common offenses related to violence is resisting an officer. The misdemeanor of resisting an officer without violence is defined at section 843.02, Fla. Stat. The corpus delicti requires that a defendant must:

  • obstruct, resist, or oppose the victim;
  • that the victim, at the time of the obstruction, resistance, or opposition, must be engaged in the lawful execution of a legal duty;
  • that the victim must be a police officer; and
  • that the defendant must know that the victim is a police officer.

See Fla. Std. Jury Instr. 21.2. For the felony offense of resisting with violence, the prosecutor must prove beyond all reasonable doubt the additional element that the defendant resisted with violence.


Reclassification of Violent Crimes Based on the Victims Status

Under Florida law, certain types of assault or battery offenses are more serious when committed against persons who are employed as first responders, e.g., law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical care providers.

Section 784.07(2), F.S., provides that when a person is charged with knowingly committing an assault or battery upon law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other persons while those persons are engaged in the lawful performance of their duties, the offense is to be reclassified as follows:

  • An assault is reclassified from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a misdemeanor of the first degree;

  • A battery is reclassified from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree;

  • An aggravated assault is reclassified from a felony of the third degree to a felony of the second degree (notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person convicted of aggravated assault upon a law enforcement officer shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of three years); and

  • An aggravated battery is reclassified from a felony of the second degree to a felony of the first degree (notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person convicted of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of five years).

Section 784.07(3), F.S., provides, “[n]otwithstanding s. 948.01, F.S., adjudication of guilt or imposition of the sentence cannot be suspended, deferred, or withheld, and the defendant is not eligible for statutory gain-time under s. 944.275, F.S., or any form of discretionary early release, other than pardon or executive clemency, or conditional medical release under s. 947.149, F.S., prior to serving the minimum sentence.”

Reclassification of an offense has the effect of increasing the maximum sentence and fines that can be imposed for the offense. The maximum sentence or fine that can be imposed for a criminal offense are determined by the degree of the misdemeanor or felony. The maximum available fines escalate based on the degree of the offense.


Finding an Attorney for Crimes of Violence in Tampa, FL

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your felony charges. We are experienced in representing clients on a variety of violent crimes including all forms of felony assault and battery. We are experienced in fighting these cases, particularly when a self-defense claim can be asserted.

We can explain the charges pending against you, the typical penalties associated with that charge, and important defenses that can be asserted in the case as you fight for a dismissal of the charge.

Call 813-250-0500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case either in the office or over the phone.


This article was last updated by on Monday, August 6, 2018.

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