A defendant can claim self-defense in assault and battery cases in Florida.
Assault and battery are two different crimes according to Florida law. The law identifies assault as using words to threaten harm or cause fear to someone. The act of battery means the offender engages in an activity that results in a strike or causes bodily injury to another person.
Not all assault and battery crimes are intentional. Sometimes a defendant acts in self-defense.
What is self-defense according to Florida law?
When someone believes that another person is threatening their safety, they have the right to defend themselves. Claiming self-defense means that the offender acknowledges they acted illegally but did so due to another person’s threat. Defendants can also claim self-defense if they act to protect someone else who was at risk of harm.
Updated laws in Florida now require the state to prove intent to injure instead of requiring a defendant to prove self-defense.
What acts qualify as self-defense?
Self-defense claims must meet specific requirements. Offenders may claim self-defense if:
- They believed they were in immediate danger
- They did not initiate the confrontation
- Their action was the only way out of the dangerous situation
- Defendants were not participating in illegal activity at the time of the event
- The action was equal to the threat
If someone forcefully enters a person’s home or car, the courts automatically presume the defendant was in imminent danger.
If an offender acted to protect themselves or someone else, they have the right to claim self-defense in an assault or battery case.