Justifiable Use of Force
If you were charged with a violent crime, chances are that there was another party involved that was using violence. Were they the instigator of this event or were they about to or in the process of committing a crime against you or another? Using force, even deadly force, is entirely legal if used to protect yourself, other people, your home, or your property. To find out more about your best option of defense, you need to contact an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney.
Use of Deadly Force Versus Non-Deadly Force
According to Florida statute 776.012, a person can use or threaten to use force against another person when they reasonably believe that that amount of force is necessary to defend him or herself from the other person. The person using self defense does not have a duty to retreat (to walk or run away) before using force. An example of using non-deadly force could be tackling a drunken person who took a swing at you and holding them down until authorities are called. However, if you subsequently kicked them in the head repeatedly after they were already down, you may have surpassed the lawful use of force, and entered an illegal use of deadly force. The use of deadly force is lawful when you reasonably believe that that amount of force is necessary to prevent great bodily harm or death caused to yourself or another, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. Similar to the use of non-deadly force, it is a person’s right to use deadly force instead of retreating, so long as they have a right to be in that place and are not engaged in criminal activity. If a person was burglarizing a home, they would not have the right to defend themselves with deadly force against the homeowner.
What is a Forcible Felony?
As noted above, you have the right to use deadly force against another person to stop a forcible crime from occurring. A forcible felony is defined by Florida statute 776.08 as any of the following types of crimes:
- Sexual battery;
- Home invasion;
- Aggravated assault;
- Aggravated battery;
- Unlawful throwing (such as throwing a rock);
- Aircraft piracy;
- Aggravated stalking;
- Any felony that involves the use of threat or physical violence; and
- Placing or discharging a bomb or destructive device.
For Professional Criminal Defense, Contact the West Palm Beach Law Offices of The Skier Law Firm Today
The use of deadly or non-deadly force, and the use of a threat, are lawful in certain circumstances. If you were wrongly charged with using force to protect yourself, another, or to prevent a home invasion or other forcible crime, you deserve to have those charges dropped. The West Palm Beach attorneys of the Skier Law Firm are here to provide experienced legal assistance in every way that we can by advocating for the charges to be dropped and fighting for you both in and out of court.