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Violent Crimes

I have defended violent crimes her entire legal career, including felony battery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, child abuse, animal cruelty, robbery,  burglary, carjacking, shooting into an occupied vehicle, throwing a deadly missile, home invasion robbery, arson, false imprisonment, written threats to do bodily harm, cyber-stalking, kidnapping, manslaughter, sexual battery, accessory after the fact, attempted murder, first degree murder, second degree murder, and felony murder. Such crimes are a main focus of prosecutor resources and harsh penalties are sought, even for first-time offenders. Having a lawyer willing to fight on your behalf can make the difference between a lengthy prison sentence and freedom


Florida does not combine its assault and battery statute, like some states do. An assault does not involve a hitting or touching, but rather a threat to hurt someone. The person making the threat must have the apparent ability to carry out the threat of harm and the threat must create a reasonable fear of being harmed. If the person is not actually put in fear, this is not an assault. If the person making the threat has no reasonable way to carry out the threat, this also not an assault. A simple assault is second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail. Simple assaults are rarely charged on their own, in my experience. 

Aggravated Assault

This offense is punishable by a maximum five years in prison. 

Aggravated Battery

In order to be aggravated, a battery must be committed while (1) intentionally or knowingly causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, OR (2) using a deadly weapon OR (3) knowing the victim is pregnant. This is a second-degree felony with a maximum 15 years in prison


Burglary in Florida encompasses more than what most people think of as a burglary. The crime does not have to involve a traditional "break and entering." In some cases, there there need not be an entering at all. This is because merely overstaying one's welcome in a dwelling, structure, or vehicle can stand in for the traditional "breaking in" if the person remains inside with the intent to commit a crime.

Penalties vary widely, depending on whether the crime involves a dwelling, structure, or vehicle; whether it is occupied by another person during the crime; and whether the person committing the burglary becomes armed at some point during the burglary.

Burglary of a Structure or Conveyance

When a person breaks into a structure conveyance (vehicle), the severity of the offense depends largely upon whether the vehicle or structure if "occupied." This means there is another person inside at the time the offender commits the burglary. An occupied burglary of a structure or conveyance is a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. An unoccupied burglary of a vehicle or structure is a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison. 

Since burglary does not require a traditional "breaking in," an occupied burglary can occur under curious circumstances. For example, say two people are in a vehicle in a parking lot. They get into an argument and the driver-owner of the vehicle tells the passenger to get out. If the passenger decides to stay inside the vehicle and steal the driver's wallet, they could be charged with burglary of an occupied conveyance. 

Burglary of a Dwelling (Residence)

Burglary of a home is one of the most harshly penalized offenses. The individual circumstances of each case make a big difference in how a burglary charge is punished, but Florida law determines a great deal by way of the Criminal Punishment Code (CPC). A burglary of a dwelling is a second-degree felony and mandates a prison sentence of 21 months to 15 years in prison. This minimum applies even to a first-time offender. Prosecutors and judges can make exceptions. For example, the prosecutor has discretion to offer a probation sentence or a short jail sentence instead of prison time. This most often occurs where a defense lawyer successfully challenges the evidence against their client and negotiates a lower sentence than that of prison. While prosecutors have wide discretion in negotiating resolutions of criminal cases, a probation plea offer is not likely to be automatic in a burglary of a dwelling case, even for a first-time offender. 

If the burglary of a dwelling was an isolated incident committed in an unsophisticated manner for which the offender shows remorse, a judge can give a sentence of less than 21 months prison. There are also other reasons to depart from the minimum CPC sentence for burglary of a dwelling. However, each reason must be supported by evidence at a sentencing hearing. 

A criminal defense attorney should of course investigate the case against their client to provide the best chance at a favorable resolution of the case. Even a case that seems strong against a client upon review of the arrest affidavit may fall apart when scrutinized more closely. Challenging witness credibility, particularly that of eye witness identification, often yields helpful evidence for a defense. This may lead to a better opportunity at resolving the case by way of a plea, or build a strong defense for trial. 

"Smash and Grab" Burglary

Where a burglary is committed by causing property damage, it is often charged as a "smash and grab" burglary. This type of burglary has historically been used to punish offenders who drive a vehicle through a shop window to loot it. But this provision of Florida law creates a harsher punishment where either (1) a vehicle is used to break into a structure or dwelling by smashing into it otherwise causing damage to it, or (2) otherwise causes more than $1,000 of damage inside the dwelling to structure during the burglary. $1,000 used to be a lot of damage, but it does not take much to incur that must damage to property during commission of a burglary. This is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years on prison


  • With a Firearm or Other Deadly Weapon
    • Maximum of Life in prison
    • Without a Weapon
      • Maximum 15 years in prison
  • By Sudden Snatching
    • While carrying a Firearm or Other Deadly Weapon
      • Maximum 15 years in prison
    • Without a Weapon
      • Maximum 5 years in prison
  • Home Invasion Robbery
    • While Carrying a Firearm or Other Deadly Weapon
      • Maximum of Life in prison
    • Non-deadly Weapon
      • Maximum 30 years in prison
    • Without a Weapon
      • Maximum 30 years in prison


    • While Carrying a Firearm or Other Deadly Weapon
      • Maximum of Life in prison
    • Without a Weapon
      • Maximum 30 years in prison


A person's minimum sentence for any felony will increase due to victim injury points which are based on the severity of the particular injury. The sentence will also increase based on a person's prior criminal history. 

Self-Defense and Florida's Stand Your Ground Law

Florida's Stand Your Ground Law and other laws regarding self-defense can provide certain protections for individuals who use force to defend themselves from the threat of violence by others.  Sometimes the police get in wrong when they respond to a call involving violence.  Sometimes the police make the mistake of arresting the wrong person.  Florida's Stand Your Ground Law can prevent a person from being prosecuted in certain situations and can be used by an experienced lawyer to shield a client from criminal prosecution altogether.  Under recent changes to the law, the burden of proof is now on the prosecutor to prove that a person who claims self-defense under Florida's Stand Your Ground Law can be prosecuted.  If you are charged with a crime of violence in Florida and you were defending yourself, you need an experienced defense attorney to defend you and protect your rights.  Even if Florida's Stand Your Ground does not apply to the particular facts of your case, Florida's other self-defense laws may still provide a viable defense at trial.

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Mattie Fore Law, LLC is a criminal defense practice which handles all types of felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic offenses in Florida state courts. Ms. Fore will devote the time and attention you and your case deserve in order to achieve the best result possible.