What You Need to Know About Claiming Self-Defense in Florida Part 1

If you have been accused of a crime like assault, battery, or even manslaughter, the incident may have been a countermeasure in which you were defending yourself from harm or serious bodily injury. Depending on the circumstances of the case, acting in self-defense may have been necessary and legal. Self-defense is a common legal defense in cases related to violent crimes. In many cases, the accused only had the option to defend their own health and wellbeing against an assailant.

In this two-part article, a manslaughter defense attorney in Tampa will explain what factors must exist to prove in court that the accused acted in self-defense.

Understanding Self-Defense

Generally, the use of deadly or non-deadly force against another person is a crime. In Florida, there are self-defense laws in place that protect citizens in imminent danger. If acting in self-defense was the only option to protect yourself from serious harm, you have a legal right to defend yourself.

To prove in a court of law that the accused was acting in self-defense, a defense lawyer can demonstrate the following elements:

  1. You Were Threatened: The accused must be involved in a situation where they were in imminent danger and there was a serious threat of harm against them.
  2. The Threat is Real: This threat must be considered real or legitimate and the accused must have been fearful of this threat.
  3. You’re Not the Instigator: The accused must not have provoked or escalated this situation. Similarly, the accused didn’t harm the other person until they were forced to act.

Self-defense laws are extremely complex and vary from state to state. Whether or not self-defense applies can be crystal clear in some cases and can depend on the most minute details in others. When assessing a self-defense case, the primary determination is whether or not the incident required the “justifiable use of force.” In the second part of this article, we will explore a few examples of self-defense and whether or not the action was considered justifiable in the eyes of the law.

For a free consultation with a manslaughter defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Case Results


The Client was arrested for Battery and Criminal Mischief after allegedly having an altercation with a friend and damaging a stovetop during the altercation. Attorney Anthony Rickman provided evidence that the alleged victim
Show More

Prostitution Charge Dropped

The Defendant was charged with soliciting by an undercover officer. After arguing entrapment, the state agreed to drop the charge.
Show More


The Client was charged with Driving Under the Influence. Even though the client had a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.187, Attorney Anthony Rickman was able to get the DUI charge reduced to Reckless Driving.
Show More