The threat of violence is a scary and unexpected experience. When a Floridian finds themselves faced with an attack from an assailant and few options for seeking safety, they may choose to fight to protect themselves from harm. The state recognizes some self-defense options for individuals in these situations and allows them to stand up for themselves when danger is present.
Permissible uses of non-deadly force
Force can be classified into two categories: deadly and non-deadly. Non-deadly force involves force that will stop or deter a person from pursuing a violent action. Victims of violence can use non-deadly force against their attackers, or those attacking others, when the non-deadly force is needed to stop an imminent use of unlawful force. In Florida, a person does not have to retreat before using non-deadly force against an attacker.
Permissible uses of deadly force
Deadly force is force that may result in the death of the assailant. A victim of a violent attack may use deadly force if the believe that they or someone else is imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, or if deadly force is necessary to stop the commission of a forceable felony. As with non-deadly force scenarios, Floridians do not have to seek to retreat before they use deadly force in appropriate situations.
There are many factors that can change how and if self-defense is appropriate in different criminal situations. In some cases, victims of violent attacks may find themselves under arrest for assault and other charges when they rightfully used their self-defense options against others who intended to cause harm. When this happens, the help of criminal defense attorneys may be necessary.
A criminal defense lawyer can help their client work through the facts of their alleged case and their options for overcoming their charges. They can help their client work with prosecutors to find reasonable solutions to their legal situations. All criminal cases are different, and individuals who are facing charges after using self-defense should know they have rights and options under the law.