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Can You Use Force When Defending Someone Else?

Under Florida law, in some circumstances, if you use force against another person when they are harming or threatening to injure another individual, your actions may be justified. As with the self-defense doctrine, coming to the aid of someone else could be used as an argument in your case if it goes to trial. The type of force you are allowed to use depends on the specifics of the situation.

Use of Non-Deadly Force

If you see an altercation between two people and one of them is using unlawful force against the other, you can threaten to take action or actually step between them. For the law to apply, you must reasonably believe that your behavior is necessary to protect the person from being harmed.

If in this fictional situation, the attacker is using non-lethal force, you cannot use or threaten to use deadly force. That means it would be unlawful for you to shoot or attempt to shoot the individual. Such an action would not be able to be used as a defense in court.

Use of Deadly Force

In some situations, Florida law does allow you to use deadly force against someone who is attacking another person. Under statute 776.012(2), if the individual being attacked may be in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm, using or threating to use lethal force could be justified. Such actions could also be acceptable if they were done to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. These types of offenses include murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, robbery, and aggravated assault, among others.

Using deadly force when protecting another applies as long as you are not involved in criminal activity at the time and you are somewhere that you are allowed to be.

Schedule a Free Consultation with The Wiseman Law Firm

If you were charged with a violent crime but your actions were carried out in defense of another person, contact our attorney today. We will listen to your side of the story and thoroughly analyze the facts of the case to understand what happened. From there, we will build a strategy to fight against criminal allegations. Our goal is to protect your rights and work toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.

We are committed to helping you through your case. Call us at (407) 708-9127 or contact us online.