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What Qualifies as Self-Defense in Florida?

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Lawful self-defense in Florida may consist of deadly force or non-deadly force, depending upon the circumstances. The purpose of self-defense is to excuse otherwise unlawful conduct that was “reasonably necessary” to prevent another person from using imminent, unlawful force. Under the law, self-defense is a complete defense. In other words, if the defendant can successfully assert it, he or she may be deemed not guilty for the underlying crime, and the criminal case may be dismissed.

If you have been charged with a serious crime of violence in St. Petersburg, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group can examine the facts of your case and determine whether or not you can avail yourself of self-defense.

Non-Deadly Force

A person may be justified in using non-deadly force against someone else in different situations. Non-deadly force is not reasonably likely to result in death or grievous bodily harm to another. Hitting someone with your hand, for example, may constitute non-deadly force. A person may be justified in using non-deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that someone else is going to exercise a proportionate amount of force against him or her.

Also, under the law, a person does not have a legal duty to retreat. This is known as the Stand Your Ground Law. If the alleged victim is assaulted or attacked in his or her home or car, there is a legal presumption that the victim harbored a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm under those circumstances.

Deadly Force

In some cases, deadly force used against another person may be justified. This is true if the victim reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent a forcible felony from being committed. Moreover, the victim can lawfully use deadly force is the victim believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent grievous bodily harm or imminent death to himself or another person. Finally, a person may use deadly force in his or her home or car, since there is a legal presumption of reasonable fear for one’s life (or grievous bodily harm) in those places.

When Self-Defense Is Not Legally Justifiable

There are some circumstances where self-defense is not legally justified. Some of those situations include the following:

  • The person who uses the force is taking part in an illegal activity
  • The person who uses the force provokes the attack, absent exceptional circumstances

Call a St. Petersburg, Florida, Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

A criminal conviction can have serious legal and personal consequences for you. The general public, including prospective employers and landlords, can view even a record of minor arrests and convictions.

Self-defense and other legal defenses may result in complete dismissal of your case. In order to find out if self-defense is available to you in your case, you should contact the criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with our skilled criminal defense attorneys in St. Petersburg, please call us at (727) 269-5300, or contact us online.

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