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Domestic Violence Charges & Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law
Florida is one of the states that has what is known as a “Stand Your Ground” law, which is intended to clarify the situations in which a person can use force in self-defense. However, there are still questions surrounding its use in specific situations, particularly in cases where domestic violence is a factor. If you have defended yourself in this kind of situation, and you worry about potential criminal consequences, it is crucial to understand the law.
The Right To Use “Reasonable” Force
The text of the relevant law is fairly straightforward – if a person is in a “dwelling or residence” where they have a right to be present, they have no duty to retreat from a potential confrontation, and they have the right to use (or threaten to use) a reasonable amount of force against the intruder. What level of force is considered “reasonable” will differ from situation to situation, and there are certain moments where “stand your ground” does not apply.
In 2017, the law was expanded and clarified, and it now states that if a defendant claims self-defense under the “stand your ground” law, the state’s attorney must establish that the defendant did not act in self-defense at pretrial hearings or a trial cannot go forward. In other words, if the defendant asserts this defense, the prosecution must disprove or it will carry the day (and preclude a trial taking place).
Difficult But Not Impossible
If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, and you want to show that you acted in self-defense, it may be difficult – but not impossible. Domestic violence victims cannot legally ‘stand their ground’ against someone who lives with them unless there is a domestic violence injunction (DVI) against the alleged assailant, and if neither you nor your alleged victim have a DVI against the other, the law may not apply. However, this still leaves a significant amount of “wiggle room” – your situation may not rise to the level of domestic violence, or you may be able to assert self-defense without specifically referring to Florida’s “stand your ground” law.
That said, one thing to keep in mind about using self-defense in your case is that there are certain situations where it will not be considered by the court. For example, you cannot assert self-defense in a domestic violence case if you were committing a crime. This is also true if you are found to have intentionally provoked the other party in the dispute. Each case is different, and it is generally a good idea to consult experienced legal help so that you know your rights.
Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, but acted in self-defense, you may be able to use Florida’s “stand your ground” laws to show it. However, every case is different. A West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can help ensure your rights are protected through the legal process. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.