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Self-Defense Laws in Florida

If you have been accused of or arrested for allegedly committing a serious violent crime, one of the main defenses available in Florida is self-defense. Such a claim aims to prove that force was necessary to prevent another person's impending use of illegal force.

Florida self-defense laws permit the use of non-deadly force when a person finds it "reasonably necessary" to prevent another person's impending use of illegal force. Florida is a "no duty to retreat" state, and under Florida Statutes Section 776.012, a person's actions will be justified if they had a reasonable fear of imminent death or bodily harm.

So if the alleged victim unlawfully entered or remained on your property, or attempted to remove someone else against their will, the law will automatically assume that you had a reasonable fear of imminent death or bodily harm.

Keep in mind, the presumption of reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm does not apply to the following circumstances:

  1. The person on the receiving end of defensive force has the right to be in the home or vehicle
  2. The person on the receiving end of defensive force is removing a child or grandchild which he/she has lawful custody over.
  3. The person on the receiving end of defensive force is a police officer who enters or attempts to enter a home or vehicle to perform official duties and the officer identified himself/herself.
  4. The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the home or vehicle to further an unlawful activity.

Evidence is required to prove self-defense; however, this is a low standard and even a minor amount of evidence is enough to prove self-defense. In some situations, a defendant may not even have to testify in court.

Contact Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. to speak with our Clearwater criminal defense attorney for more information today.

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