Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / When You Truly Acted In Self-Defense

When You Truly Acted In Self-Defense


It is fairly common for domestic violence defendants in Florida to argue that they acted in self-defense even if this is not truly the case. If you are charged with domestic violence, but you truly did act in self-defense, you may be under the impression that you will not be believed in court. If you have the evidence, though, you may be able to get off the proverbial hook.

Could You Stand Your Ground?

Florida defines domestic violence as any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death to any of the perpetrator’s “family or household member[s].” A family or household member is not only a spouse, but could also be an ex-spouse, an unmarried co-parent, or anyone with whom the perpetrator is or was residing together as a family.

There are several potential defenses that a defendant may argue in court in order to cast reasonable doubt in the case, and one of them is to claim they acted in self-defense. Florida has become somewhat notorious for its ‘stand your ground’ laws, which allow a person to use force against an intruder – with no duty to retreat – if they “reasonably believe” that the intruder is imminently going to use force against them. However, without sufficient evidence, a claim of self-defense can be a hard one to prove.

Was Your Behavior Reasonable?

Under Florida law, a person’s reasonable belief that they are about to be attacked allows them to respond with roughly equal force. However, having that right and proving it can be two very different matters. A court may question whether you actually acted in self-defense, and whether your belief that force was required was reasonable.

For example, one of the most common questions asked when a defendant says they acted in self-defense is whether they did something to provoke the initial attack. If they did, they effectively lose the right of self-defense. For example, a defendant who violates a protective order so that they can argue with their ex-spouse would not have the right to allege self-defense; if they feared for their safety, they should not have engaged in the first place.

Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney

If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, but you acted in self-defense, you have the right to your day in court. A West Palm Beach criminal attorney from the firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. will work hard to protect your rights. Call our office today at (561) 721-0552 to speak to an attorney.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn