Are You Allowed to Use Self-Defense in Florida?
Innocent people are accused of committing violent crimes too often in Florida. This sometimes occurs after a person uses self-defense when they felt as though their safety and well-being was at risk. Self-defense is known as an affirmative defense. This means that the person accused of committing a crime does not deny that they committed the act, but that they had good reason for it.
Florida law allows individuals to use either deadly or non-deadly force in certain situations, but this defense is very difficult to prove. If you used self-defense and are now being charged with a crime, a Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you prove your case.
The Use of Non-Deadly Force
Under Section 776.012 of the Florida Statutes, individuals in the state can use non-deadly force in certain situations. According to the statute, a person must reasonably believe the use of force is necessary to protect themselves from another person’s use of illegal force. Using non-deadly force does not require a person to try and escape the situation before using the force. The defense of using non-deadly force typically applies when the person defending themselves is on public property, or when they are on the property of someone else. In the event that an individual is in their car or home, they may use an even greater level of force to defend themselves.
The Use of Deadly Force
Section 776.013 of the Florida Statutes allows individuals to use deadly force when it is reasonable to believe that they are at risk for great bodily harm, imminent death, or when they are trying to prevent a felony. Under this statute, it is presumed that when a person is in their vehicle or their home and another person enters or tries to enter that place, a person can reasonably think they are at great risk of being harmed.
While the statute does offer many protections, the law does make some exceptions to it. These include when:
- A person entering the home or vehicle has a legal right to do so,
- A person entering the home is a child or grandchild and is in legal custody of the person using force
- The person using deadly or non-deadly force is using their vehicle or home to commit a crime
- The person entering the home or vehicle is a law enforcement officer, or the individual using force should have reasonably known the person entering was an officer
Even when these exceptions do not apply, it is still important that anyone that uses self-defense speaks to a Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando Today
If you had to use self-defense to protect yourself and are now being charged with a crime, our Orlando criminal defense lawyers at O’Mara Law Group can assist with your case. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online from to schedule a consultation so we can advise on your case.