When someone poses an immediate threat of harm to you or another person, sometimes you must take action. Striking back at someone who hit you first, trying to restrain someone who has hurt another person or even using a legal firearm can all be valid forms of self-defense under Florida law.
Unfortunately, what seems clear and obvious to you in the moment may not be as clear to the police officers who respond to the incident. You might wind up facing assault charges for trying to protect yourself, your property or someone else — especially if the other person involved tries to make themselves look like the victim.
When you claim self-defense, you may have to prove it in court
In Florida, assault involves both nonconsensual or offensive physical contact and threats of causing bodily harm to someone who put them in a state of fear. You may have been the victim of assault before you lashed out at the other person.
Maybe they made statements that you thought were credible threats against your safety. Perhaps their body language or gestures indicated a clear threat. You acted to protect yourself and others or respond to their initial act of aggression.
If police officers can’t clearly substantiate your claims of self-defense, they may arrest you. The state may then move forward with charges with the understanding that you may try to prove self-defense in court. There are many ways for you to corroborate your claim of self-defense, such as statements by other people present, security camera footage or even previous threatening messages sent by the other party.
Your unique circumstances will have their own set of evidence that you and your attorney need to analyze to determine how you can show the court that you acted in self-defense and not out of aggression.