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Can I Be Charged for Self-Defense?

We all have the right to defend ourselves, however, there are limits to what we can do in self-defense. The amount of physical force required to defend one’s self varies depending on the circumstances of the conflict. Self-defense laws are intended to protect the people who didn’t initiate the conflict. Self-defense does not apply to violent aggressors. In this blog, we explain if you can be charged for defending yourself.

Stand Your Ground Law

Many states now have a “stand your ground” or “no retreat” rule. Florida is one of these states. The theory behind such laws is that people who aren’t in the wrong shouldn’t have to flee in fear from their attackers.

Critics of stand your ground law have argued that such laws actually encourage violent encounters. States that hold this view point typically require that innocent people who can safely retreat from an attacker, do so, instead of responding with violence or deadly force. Those who support the “retreat requirement” have suggested that falling back isn’t necessary if it would place you in further danger of being attacked.

In stand your ground states, a non-aggressor who has the opportunity to safely retreat, but doesn’t take it is allowed to use deadly force against their attacker, if they reasonably believe they will be killed or suffer serious injury.

The Castle Doctrine

Although critics disagree over the specifics of stand your ground laws, there’s much less disagreement when it comes to what is known as “castle doctrine.” Generally, states with retreat requirements don’t force people to run from their homes, even when they know they can do so safely.

Although the specifics of this doctrine varies in each state, generally, innocent people who are being attacked in their home don’t need to retreat, even if they can do so safely. Instead, they can use lethal force if they are in apparent danger of suffering serious injury.

Do you have more questions about self-defense? Contact our West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys today. We’re here to help with your legal concerns.

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