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 "reasonably necessary" to prevent another person's impending use of illegal force.
Defendants can use the following types of force as an affirmative defense to justify their actions:
- Non-deadly force
- Deadly force
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:
- The person on the receiving end of defensive force has the right to be in the home or vehicle
- The person on the receiving end of defensive force is removing a child or grandchild which he/she has lawful custody over.
- 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.
- 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.