Under the law in the State of Florida, self-defense is an affirmative defense. Self-defense acknowledges that a violent act took place. However, the defense implies that under the circumstances, force was necessary and justified in order to combat another person’s use of unlawful force. This defense can be used to avoid a conviction for assault, homicide, or other violent offenses.

Use of Non-Deadly Force

Generally, an individual is entitled to use non-deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself against the use of unlawful force. Under these circumstances, there is no duty for an individual to retreat. Also, for purposes of this definition, an individual who freely enters another person’s home or vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force.

Deadly Force

In some circumstances, deadly force is justified and is covered under Florida self-defense law. Deadly force may be justified if the following elements are met:

  • An individual reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
  • To prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or to another person.

In evaluating whether self-defense is justified under the circumstances, juries use the “reasonable person” standard. This means that the jury members are told to consider what a reasonable person would have done under the same or similar circumstances in determining whether self-defense is applicable.

Call a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help

If you have been charged with a crime, it is essential that you seek experienced legal representation. Criminal charges can subject you to various serious penalties, including fines and, in some circumstances, jail time. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to analyze all of the facts and circumstances of your case and will be able to assert the applicable legal defenses. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Khonsari Law Group can review all of the facts and circumstances of your case with you and decide how to proceed. You should feel free to contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at any time, via telephone or email, for an initial consultation.

www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.012.html