In many cases, people accused of a violent Florida criminal offenses may not be guilty. State law clearly emphasizes that individuals seeking to protect themselves, family members, or other individuals from harmful threats are, in most cases, not in violation of the law.
Being unclear about what constitutes self-defense rights in Florida may cause a person to make poor decisions following an altercation when they need to defend themselves or when they are discussing the altercation with law enforcement. Having a clear understanding of the right to defend yourself will put you in a better position should an altercation situation ever arise.
A physical altercation may happen in a public or private setting at any moment. Perhaps someone feels you bad-mouthed their team watching a sports game or a spouse becomes aggressive during an argument. A self-defense claim will only work if you weren’t the instigator in the fight turning physical.
The court, as well as law enforcement, will pay close attention to body language and anything you may have said when an interaction began. They will take into account your version of events plus those of the other person(s) involved and any witnesses. Cell phone or security camera footage may also be used. If the evidence shows that your provocation was intentional or there was a threat, self-defense may not work, even if the other person became physical first.
Understanding how self-defense and Florida’s stand your ground law differ is important. With the stand your ground law, you are not legally required to retreat should a threat be made before you can attempt to defend yourself. In Florida, you need only demonstrate that you had a credible fear for your safety to stand your ground and take action.
Self-defense claims may involve weapons or they may also involve a physical altercation. Choosing to invoke the stand-your-ground law is often done because a deadly weapon was used or a person threatened to use one due to a situation perceived to be dangerous.
This update is by published by The Laws Offices of Mark Eiglarsh, a Hollywood crime attorney. Areas of practice include criminal defense, white collar crimes, drug crimes, fraud, DUI, sex crimes, domestic violence, and more. With over two decades of experience, Mark is committed to obtaining the best possible outcome for his valued clients under difficult circumstances. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call 954-500-0003 in Broward or 305-674-0003 in Miami.
This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.