Self-Defense in Florida


Whether you are being accused of assault or even murder, one of the most common legal defenses used by defendants facing criminal charges for violent crimes is self-defense. This type of affirmative defense acknowledges that a justifiable use of force by the defendant was necessary to prevent another person’s imminent use of unlawful force. 

There are two main types of self-defense: the use of non-deadly force and the use of deadly force. 

Non-Deadly Force 

A person is justified to use non-deadly force in self-defense if he/she believes that such force is required to defend himself/herself or someone else against another person’s imminent use of unlawful force. Furthermore, the person acting in self-defense does not have a duty to retreat prior to using or threatening such force. 

Deadly Force 

A person is justified to use deadly force in self-defense to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, or to prevent another person from committing “forcible felonies,” such as robbery or kidnapping. If a person is in his/her home or vehicle, then the law will presume that he/she had a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm if the alleged victim illegally entered, remained, or attempted to remove someone else against their will. 

In 2005, Florida passed the country’s first ever “Stand Your Ground” law. According to this law, a person who is attacked – outside of their home or property – does not have a duty to retreat and can stand his/her ground and meet force with force, which can also mean deadly force in order to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, or prevent the commission of a felony. 

Furthermore, the law enables a person to claim self-defense at both a pretrial hearing and at trial. This means if a judge determines that a defendant’s actions were justified according to the Stand Your Ground law, the defendant’s charges will be dismissed, and no trial will be held. By contrast, if a judge believes the defendant’s actions were not justified, the defense can still be presented to a jury at trial. 

If you or a loved one were recently arrested for a violent crime in Miami, contact the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. today at (305) 400-0074 for a free initial consultation. Let a former prosecutor defend you immediately!