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Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Handle criminal matters in both state and federal courts.
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What are the laws regarding self defense in the state of Florida

Resolved Question:

What are the laws regarding self defense in the state of Florida? Spevifically: if someone were to "get up in my face" and clearly violate my personal space, while uttering words such as: "you going to do something about it?!" or "you wanna fight?!" things that could reasonably be understood as an invitation to mutual combat or at the very least fighting words.

What course of action would I have? (besides calling the police because that is not always feasible)

Is striking my assailant legal? would pushing my assailant away from me and regaining my personal space be legal? (keep in mind this could be seen as starting the fight itself)

This is a situation I have seen occurring in more and more places and I have been wondering what legal courses of action would be open to me if I wanted to use force against somebody displaying what I can only describe as naked aggression against me or my family.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Samuel II replied 4 years ago.

hi

 

in 2005, the Florida legislature passed a law that says you do not have a duty to retreat from another and you have a right to self defense when you are in fear of your life or imminent harm - that means death or great bodily harm. this law extends to all public places and in your home. it used to be that you had a duty to retreat. now you can "stand your ground"

 

so if someone is in your face yelling, you should try to call the police and/or retreat

 

however, if someone has a gun or a weapon such as a baseball bat in their hands while yelling, then you can use force, even deadly force, to protect yourself, if need be.

 

here is the FLA law

 

776.031 Use of force in defense of others.--A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

 



Edited by Samuel-II on 7/3/2010 at 2:50 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I wanted an answer that specifically addresses what my rights are in regard to someone violating my personal space and using "fighting words".
Expert:  Samuel II replied 4 years ago.

hi

 

well, here is the law as i provided in my edit and explained thoroughly. these are your rights. unless, you are in fear of your life or that of your family members, you cannot use force. that is the answer to your question. the law says you must retreat unless there is fear of death or bodliy harm. "fighting words" alone would not be enough

 

in case you did not get my edit where i added:

 

here is the FLA law

 

776.031 Use of force in defense of others.--A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

 

 

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.--A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or

(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

 



Edited by Samuel-II on 7/3/2010 at 3:04 AM EST
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 21657
Experience: Handle criminal matters in both state and federal courts.
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