10-20-Life, Aggravated Assault, Criminal Defense, Legal Blog

Real Life Hamburglar & Florida’s 10 20 Life Statute

A West Palm Beach man was apparently arrested this morning after a March incident where he pointed a gun and threatened to shoot a drive-through worker at Checkers if the employee did not give the man a hamburger.

The defendant allegedly placed an order at the speaker box of Checkers, and pulled up to the window to pay for his order. The defendant attempted to place a second order while at the window, and was informed that he would have to drive back to the speaker box to place the additional order. This apparently enraged the defendant, who then pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot. He ultimately drove away without firing and was arrested after police officers found a vehicle with a tag matching the description of the gunman’s car. He has been charged with aggravated assault.

As discussed in my previous article, aggravated assault is a third degree felony in the State of Florida, punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison. Florida Statute 784.021 defines aggravated assault as an assault (which is a threat to do violence to another person combined with an apparent ability to carry out the threat and doing some act that creates fear of imminent violence) with a deadly weapon (such as a gun) without intent to kill, or with the intent to commit a felony.

However, under Florida’s 10-20-Life Statute (Florida Statute 775.087), there is a minimum mandatory sentence of three (3) years Florida State Prison for a person who is convicted of aggravated assault if the person possessed a “firearm” during the assault, even if the person did not fire the weapon. Discharging a firearm would result in even more mandatory prison time.

Aggravated Assault is a serious crime in the State of Florida; even more so when it involves a firearm. A simple moment of anger could turn into serious prison time when a gun is involved. Anyone facing felony charges of aggravated assault with a firearm in Palm Beach County, Florida, should speak with a Palm Beach County Criminal Defense Attorney.

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.

Aggravated Assault, Battery, Criminal Defense, Diversion Program, Legal Blog, PTI, Recent News

Ray Rice and Pre Trial Intervention

Everyone is talking about the knockout punch Ray Rice delivered to his then-fiancee (now wife) in an elevator, which has resulted in Rice being cut from the Ravens and indefinitely suspended from the NFL. According to news reports, Rice was charged with a third-degree felony of aggravated assault, and he reportedly entered a pretrial intervention program.

If Rice had been prosecuted in Florida for an aggravated assault charge, he would have been prosecuted under Florida Statute 784.021, which defines aggravated assault as an assault with a deadly weapon, made without the intent to kill. Anyone who commits an aggravated assault in Florida can be charged with a third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison and a $5,000.00 fine. However, in the case of a first time offense that is either a misdemeanor or a third degree felony, a defendant in Florida may be statutorily eligible to enter a pretrial intervention program.

Many people are vilifying Rice and complaining that he “got off easy” by entering into a diversion program instead of being sentenced to jail time. However, if he had been charged in Florida with the same charges, he likely would have received the same treatment, regardless of his social status. Pretrial Intervention Programs (PTI) in Florida are common resolutions in cases of first time offenders charged with misdemeanors or third degree felonies (depending on the charge) who have no prior criminal history when both the victim and the State Attorney agree to the program.


Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Marital Law.