Skip to Content

Understanding the Difference Between Assault and Self-Defense

Join the Owenby Law Team

In cases of assault and battery, defendants often claim they were acting out of self-defense. While whether a court buys your story depends largely on the argument of your trusted legal counsel, some circumstantial clues may help you determine whether your actions may be considered self-defense or assault.

Was the Amount of Force Used Reasonable?

When trying to determine whether you were acting out of self-defense, the court will evaluate the level of force you used and whether or not it was appropriate given the circumstances. For example, if someone bumps into you on the sidewalk and you knock them out cold, you will likely not be able to convince a judge that you acted out of self-defense. However, if someone is moving toward you with their fist raised and you push them to the ground, this is more likely to be considered self-defense. If you can prove that you had reason to believe you were in immediate physical danger because of another person, your actions against them are more likely to be considered self-defense.

It is also important to note that havingreason to believe you were in physical danger does not give you a blank check to exert as much violent force as you wish. If someone tries to throw a punch and you defend yourself by breaking their neck, the court will likely view you as an assailant because you used disproportionate force.

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Laws

Under Florida Statutes, Section 776.012, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law maintains that deadly force is justified if you believe you are in immediate danger of death, serious physical harm, or another violent felony crime. This requires that the person exercising deadly force out of self-defense be located in a place where they are legally permitted to be, which means you cannot legally behave in the same defensive manner if you are trespassing or engaged in other unlawful activity.

Defend Assault Charges by Claiming Self-Defense

There are a variety of other bases for claiming self-defense when you are being accused of assault. While it may be apparent to you that you were in immediate danger and acted out of self-defense, proving self-defense in court requires knowledgeable legal representation and a skilled team of criminal defense attorneys.

Consult with a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

At Owenby Law, P.A., we have served a multitude of clients who were once in your shoes. Let us help you defend yourself in court and work together to achieve the best outcome in your case. We offer complimentary consultations and are prepared to discuss the details of your case with you right away.

Call (904) 770-3141 today or contact us to schedule your free initial case evaluation.