If you have been in a situation where you had to physically defend yourself, you may have questions about the legal ramifications of your actions. Even when defending yourself is the only reasonable option, can criminal charges stem from this act?
What does Florida law say about self-defense and your right to use force to protect yourself?
Stand your ground law
In states with stand your ground laws, like Florida, a person is not required to attempt to escape the situation before they respond to a threat with force. The state’s laws specify that you can meet force with force if you are being threatened with harm in a place you are legally allowed to be. If you found yourself in a situation where you feared for your safety and responded with justifiable use of force to protect yourself, Florida law may protect you from prosecution.
Use of force
What is a justifiable use of force? Force, even deadly force, is justifiable with no obligation to retreat if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent an imminent threat of death or bodily harm. It may also be justifiable in situations where someone is in the process of, or has already, forcibly and unlawfully broken into your home or vehicle. There are exceptions to this, some of which include other residents of your home and police officers.
Using force against someone who intends to or is attempting to harm you is often deemed justifiable under Florida’s stand your ground laws.