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Appropriate use of force in self defense.

Melbourne, FL |
Filed under: Criminal defense

Where can I learn about the appropriate use of force in a self defense situation in Florida (specifically Brevard county) without using a weapon? I've been practicing martial arts for a few years and I want to know what type of force I can use in a confrontation and what force I cannot use (when is it appropriate to strike, punch or kick somebody, when is it appropriate to break a joint or dislocate, and when is it appropriate to kill somebody). I have no desire or death wish to get in a fight; my initial reaction is to just run away. On the other hand, in the rare situation where I do end up in a confrontation I can't immediately run away from, I want to know what is legally appropriate and what things I should avoid. Thanks in advance to the those taking time to answer my question.

Attorney Answers 1

  1. You may use enough force to stop the attacker. This is obviously a very open question and there is no exact answer. Use common sense. If the attacker is a 13 year old small boy - seriously hurting the child who tried to hit you may result in issues for you - both civil and criminal. If the attacker is a grown large man with a baseball bat, and obviously on drugs - you can use whatever force is necessary to stop the attack including deadly force if necessary. Once the attacker is stopped you must discontinue the force. Each situation will be entirely different and no one can guarantee you may not be charged even if acting in self defense. Good luck and be careful!

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