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Photo of Ian F. Mann

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We have deep ties to the community, we have represented clients in Southwest Florida for more than 25 years.

What constitutes self-defense in a domestic violence case?

Charges for domestic violence can hold heavy penalties in Florida. If you and someone in your household pressed charges against you, you may not know where to turn. What if you never intended to fight? What if you just fought back? Unfortunately, assailants will sometimes press charges against others after they fight back.

Understanding how to claim self-defense in a domestic violence case may help you fight the charge.

What does the Florida statute say?

In Florida, the self-defense statute states that a person can use force or the threat of force against another person when he or she believes it necessary. As long as the force does not cause the death of another person, you have the right to fight back to defend yourself. While you do not have to retreat, you can only use a reasonable amount of force to protect yourself.

You may only use threats of deadly force or use deadly force if the other person poses an imminent threat of severe bodily harm or death.

How can you determine justifiable force?

When the court examines your case, they will use terms like justifiable force or discuss what a reasonable person may do in your circumstance. A reasonable person is a hypothetical one who has the intelligence, common sense, judgment and knowledge that most members of society have.

In self-defense arguments, the party who seeks a self-defense claim cannot be the person who began the fight. For example, if a person provokes an attack, he or she cannot claim self-defense.


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