Can I Claim Self-Defense in Florida?

By Jonathan Blecher on October 16, 2019

Are you facing assault or battery charges in Florida? If you are, you may be thinking something to the effect of, “But I was defending myself! Don’t I have a right to self-defense?” If you think about it, many fights involve: 1) someone who started it, and 2) someone who was struck first and defending themselves. If you’re the second person, you have every right to ask if you can claim self-defense to avoid an assault or battery conviction.

People do have a right to defend themselves. If someone loses their temper and comes at you with fists flying, you should be able to protect yourself. There is nothing in the law that says you have to let someone beat you up or attack you. Read on as I explore self-defense under Florida law in more detail.

What Does Florida Law Say?

Self-defense is covered under Section 776.012 of the Florida Statutes, use or threatened use of force in defense of person. Under Sec. 776.012(1) it reads:

“A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.”

In some instances, however, deadly force is necessary when defending oneself. Under Sec. 776.012(2), it says that someone is justified in threatening or using deadly force if they reasonably believe that using such force is necessary to prevent someone else from causing great bodily harm to themselves or another or to prevent someone else from committing a forcible felony. So, under this statute, it can be necessary to threaten or use deadly force to save someone else’s life or your own.

If you’re facing assault, batterymanslaughter, or murder charges and you acted in self-defense, or you were protecting someone else, I urge you to contact my firm immediately to schedule a free case evaluation. You deserve a strong legal defense!

Back To Blog