Recently, a man in Florida was arrested after allegedly shooting his live-in girlfriend four times in the back. Upon arrest for first-degree murder, he told police his actions were in self-defense.
As our Fort Lauderdale domestic violence defense lawyers can explain, it may be possible to successfully argue self-defense in a domestic violence case in Florida, but it will depend on the circumstances.
Domestic violence, as defined in F.S. 741.28, is defined as any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. (Note: Family or household member can mean not just spouses, but former spouses, those related by blood or marriage, people who presently reside together as if a family or once resided together as a family, and people who have a child in common regardless of whether they’ve ever lived together before.)
What Do I Need to Argue Self-Defense?
To argue self-defense in a domestic violence case, you will need to show that you acted in reasonable self-defense or defense of others. This means that you believed you or someone else was in imminent danger of harm and that your response was proportionate to the threat.
It’s important to note that Florida’s self-defense law, also known as the “stand your ground” law, allows individuals to use deadly force in self-defense without a duty to retreat. However, this law may not apply in cases of domestic violence where the alleged victim is a family or household member.
In Florida, there is a mandatory arrest policy for domestic violence cases, which means that law enforcement must arrest the alleged offender if there is probable cause that domestic violence occurred. However, if you can prove that you acted in self-defense, the charges against you may be dropped or reduced.
If you are facing domestic violence charges and believe you acted in self-defense, it’s essential to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can review the facts of your case and determine the best defense strategy for your situation. Your attorney can help you gather evidence to support your self-defense claim and present your case effectively in court.
What Other Defenses Might I Argue in a Florida Domestic Violence Case?
In the state of Florida, domestic violence is taken very seriously, and it is a criminal offense that can carry severe penalties. If you are facing charges for domestic violence in Florida, you may have some defenses available to you.
Here are some other possible defenses (aside from self defense) that may be applicable in a domestic violence case in Florida:
- False allegations: If you can prove that the alleged victim falsely accused you of domestic violence, you may be able to have the charges dropped. This can be a challenging defense to prove, but it is possible in some cases.
- Lack of evidence: If there is not enough evidence to support the domestic violence allegations against you, the prosecution may not be able to meet their burden of proof, and the charges may be dismissed.
- Consent: If the alleged victim consented to the conduct that led to the domestic violence charges, you may have a defense. However, this defense is not available in cases of serious bodily harm or death.
It’s important to note that each case is unique, and the defenses available to you will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. It’s essential to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Florida who can review your case and determine the best defense strategy for your situation.
Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
EVIDENTIARY TRENDS IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, August 1998, By Judge David M. Gersten, Family Law, The Florida Bar Journal
More Blog Entries:
Why Self-Defense is a Risky Claim in Broward Domestic Violence Cases, March 17, 2023, Fort Lauderdale Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Blog