10th Apr 2017
When defending a person against battery charges, a criminal defense attorney in Broward County can examine the possible defenses that a person may raise. One common defense is that of self-defense. A criminal defense attorney in Broward County can explain this is an affirmative defense that alleges that although a violent act occurred, it was reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
Basics of Self-Defense
Florida law allows for a defense of self-defense when a defendant reasonably believes that a violent act is necessary in order to protect himself or herself against an imminent use of unlawful force. In Florida, there is no duty to retreat.
Imminent Death or Bodily Harm
One aspect of self-defense is that the defendant must reasonably believe that imminent death or bodily harm is about to happen. A defendant has a reasonable fear of imminent death or bodily harm if the person using force tries to attack the person in his or her home or tries to remove him or her against their own will.
At the center of evaluating whether a self-defense allegation will prevail, a jury assesses the situation from the vantage point of what a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances. This means that the jury looks at what reasonably objective conduct under the circumstances would mean.
If the defendant was the initial aggressor, self-defense is not usually available. However, an exception exists if the victim’s force was to such an extent that the defendant was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she tried every way possible to escape the danger before responding in violence.