Self-Defense

When you’re in the heat of the moment and believe you’re under attack, you may take steps necessary for self-defense. Whether it’s a home invasion or an assault out in public, your natural instincts to protect yourself may be triggered. You, however, may be one of only a handful of witnesses to such an event. After the fact, it becomes important to piece together the story for the courts in the event that there is a question over whether you legitimately defended yourself or not. What happens if there’s a criminal charge against you? Or if the person you defended yourself against files a civil claim? In these situations, the right Stuart law firm can make a big difference.

Going through any kind of attack situation is unnerving in and of itself; worrying about a legal claim or criminal accusation after the fact makes a difficult situation even more challenging. This is why it makes sense to understand your self-defense rights as well as to consult with a Stuart criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after the incident occurs. Florida has specific rules regarding your right to self-defense, or to stand your ground, and a lawyer can help you figure out how they apply to your case.

Being accused of a crime is an overwhelming experience and one that generates many questions that should be answered by an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible. In Florida, it is important to understand the rules associated with self-defense. Self-defense is classified as any type of affirmative defense used to avoid the legal impact of an otherwise illegal violent act. A claim of self-defense must first acknowledge that a violent act did indeed occur, but that act could be excused on the grounds that it was reasonably necessary to repel another individual's imminent use of unlawful force.

Self-defense claims raise serious legal questions

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Florida Statute Section 776.012 outlines that an individual is justified to use self-defense in the form of non-deadly force when you believe that such conduct is necessary to defend yourself against another person's immediate use of unlawful force. There is no duty to retreat under the Florida laws. If you are in your vehicle or your home, the law presumes that you had a reasonable fear of imminent harm or death if the alleged victim illegally remained, entered that property or attempted to remove another individual against their will.

There are two key statutes in Florida that outline when deadly force may be justified regarding avoiding criminal liability. The "Stand Your Ground" law says an individual is justified to use deadly force and has no responsibility to retreat if he or she reasonably believes that this amount of force is necessary to prevent the immediate commission of a forcible felony, or to prevent great bodily harm or imminent death for himself or herself or to another individual. Although most of these cases involve guns, knives may also be included in these claims.

This is also justified in situations where you are resisting an attempt to murder another individual or commit a felony in any house in which the person is located. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is strongly recommended if you find yourself in this situation. The legal aspects of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, as well as the mechanics of self-defense as it relates to criminal charges, requires that you work with a lawyer who is knowledgeable about this area of the law.  Our firm has extensive experience handling many situations like this, including both civil and criminal cases.

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The legal aspects of Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" law and your self-defense claim may seem complicated, but it’s our goal as a firm to explain your rights and help you move forward with a legal case. Our firm understands your situation and works hard to represent your story in court.