What Constitutes Self Defense?
With today’s world being more confusing with each passing day, it seems out society has been quite the tumultuous place in 2020. What many believed to be “their year” and humanity moving a few steps closer to creating a happier, more peaceful society, was pretty much shattered with the news of coronavirus, and one of the biggest worldwide pandemics in history. Not to mention the rash of unemployment, depression, tumbling (and thankfully recovering) financial markets, the boredom and mental anguish that sets in from staying home for months on ends, and much more. All of which has been made that much worse by the recent protests regarding the tragic injustice that was the murder of Minnesota man, George Floyd – an African American man, who was killed at the hands of a grossly incompetent police officer, who was attempting to subdue an already calm, and surrendered suspect with the brunt of a kneecap to the windpipe. Now, with the relationship between the police and the people more strained than ever, and the trust seemingly fading by the day, individuals like Mr. Steven Veinger, considered to be the best criminal lawyer Miami has to offer, are doing their best to educate and defend those who are standing up for their rights and the rights of others who can no longer speak for themselves. In the state of Florida especially, the recent stay at home orders, the simmering protests, riots and looting, combined with Florida’s signature summer sun, has individuals all over the state with a far shorter fuse than usual. Leading to far more violence, fighting, and a lot worse. When it comes to violence in the state of Florida, there is generally one universal principle that is accepted in most every situation, as men and women have the right to protect themselves from the harm of others. Known as self-defense, this extends itself to fistfights, robberies, trespassing on your property, and even gun violence incidents in some capacity with the stand your ground laws. However, many individuals do not understand what self defense truly entails and will often spout it out at any chance they have, often putting their own defense in jeopardy. To help you to better understand what self defense really is and how it can be used, Mr. Veinger, the best criminal lawyer Miami has in practice, is here to educate you.
Principles of Self Defense
As we mentioned, the self defense principle indicates that a person may protect themselves from harm under appropriate circumstances, even when that behavior would normally constitute a crime. In the United States legal system, each state allows a defendant to claim self-defense when accused of a violent crime, as does the federal government. While the specifics vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the broad concept applies across the board. Self-defense is defined as the right to prevent suffering force or violence through the use of a sufficient level of counteracting force or violence. This definition is simple enough on its face, but it raises many questions when applied to actual real-world situations. For instance, it can be difficult to gauge a sufficient level of fore or violence, especially if you aren’t in the shoes of the individual who might be fearing for their life at the time. Also, what goes beyond and what might be intended to actually provoke the attack itself? To handle the specific questions such as these, the individual state governments have indicated how they believe each situation should be handled.
This brings us to the idea of an imminent threat something that is commonly indicated in the state of Florida. Generally, in criminal law, self-defense only justifies the use of force when it is used in response to an immediate threat. The threat can be verbal, as long as it puts the intended victim in an immediate fear of physical harm. Offensive words without an accompanying threat of immediate physical harm, however, do not justify the use of force in self-defense. In addition, if the threat was made, and has then clearly ended, the use of force in self-defense is no longer justified. As the best criminal lawyer Miami has to offer, Mr. Veinger has helped countless clients argue self-defense, as the state of Florida criminal law statutes has what is known as the stand your ground law.
Stand Your Ground
Under section 776.012(2) of the Florida criminal law Statutes a person is justified in using (or threatening the use of) deadly force against another if he/she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself/herself or to another, or to prevent the imminent commission of a felony. Such a person does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand their ground so long as he/she is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where they have a right to be. This is generally the case in places such as your home, your business, as well as other places in which you have a right to not fear for your safety. While in other states, an individual may have to attempt retreat, or would have to stop in the midst of attempting some act of force as self-defense, in Florida, you have a right to stand your ground and defend you, your loved ones, and your property – especially in the event that the other individual has 1) made his threat to you, and 2) has committed or is in the commission of a crime. In other states and other instances, in the event the individual assaults the victim continually, however all of a sudden ends the assault and makes it known that the threat of violence is over – at the very second many state laws indicate the threat of violence to be over and any danger to have passed. Any use of force by a victim at this point can now be considered a separate, retaliatory crime. The issue with a situation like this is that the individual who first assaulted the victim has already shown themselves to be without scruples and capable of inflicting violence with little or no regard for the victim’s safety. Therefore, in many instances this may be a ploy to 1) absolve themselves of any crime by baiting the victim to now inflict harm upon them or 2) use this as a ploy to have the victim second-guessing their motives, while they possible reach for a weapon or firearm to inflict deadly force. Using such ideas, Mr. Veinger has been able to help a number of clients plead self-defense to obtain justice, for more information on criminal law or to schedule an appointment with Mr. Veinger, contact his office today.