Reasonable force, also known as legal force, is the amount of force necessary to protect oneself, another person, or one’s property from harm. One may need to exhibit force while defending his or herself from violent attack, theft, or another criminal threat. Under the right circumstances, reasonable force can be used as a defense in court.
When Can Force Be Used?
Force can only be legally used at the time of the crime, when the threat of harm is imminent. Force may not be used as retaliation after a crime occurs.
How Is The Appropriate Amount of Force Determined?
When using force against another person, one must use his or her best judgment when determining the amount of force to use. The amount of force deemed appropriate depends on the seriousness of the threat. For example, more force would be tolerated in a situation that threatened a human life than in a situation that only threatened property.
Florida law on justifiable use of force states, “A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”
When Is Force Excessive?
If the amount of force one uses is more than what is necessary to combat the perceived threat of danger, it may be deemed excessive. The person in this case might not be able to use reasonable force as a defense in court.
However, in some situations, the court may recognize the difficulty of determining an appropriate amount of force to use while under threat of serious harm. If this happens, the defendant may not have to forfeit his defense.
Reasonable Force and Law Enforcement
Like the average citizen, police officers are trusted to use their best judgment when determining the amount of force necessary to stop a suspect. The use of force by police officers has been a major point of concern in the United States lately, receiving a lot of media attention. Cases in which it appears to the public that an officer has used excessive force often lead to social unrest.
Protect Your Rights With Khonsari Law Group
When the threat of danger is present, it is not unreasonable to go to extreme lengths to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you have been charged with a crime committed under what you believe was a justifiable force, contact the Khonsari Law Group immediately.
If our attorneys determine that you have a reasonable force defense, we will fight vigorously for your rights in court. Call us today for a free consultation.