Facing a domestic violence charge is quite damaging to a person’s reputation, and it can be difficult to formulate a defense that will work in court. A solid defense disproves some element of the crime.
To present a strong defense, a person should understand the elements of domestic violence under Florida law and be familiar with the most common line of defense.
The Florida Statutes state that domestic violence is any type of offense that causes physical injury or involves kidnapping, stalking or false imprisonment. It must occur against a family member or member of the household in which the accused lives. Family members or household members include relatives by blood or marriage and anyone a person lives with or has lived with in the past. It also includes anyone with whom the accused has a child.
The common defense against domestic violence accusations is self-defense, which the Florida Statutes define as the justifiable use of force to protect against physical harm. This law allows a person to use force when he or she believes there is a need to protect his or her body against force used by another person. There is no requirement to try to retreat if the force the person uses in non-deadly. To use deadly force, the person must show he or she exhausted all other options of getting away from the situation.
It is not possible to use self-defense as a defense if the other person walked away or left the situation and was not actively engaged in violence or abuse. Also, if a person provokes the use of force, then he or she cannot claim self-defense in using force to protect his or herself unless he or she tries to retreat first.