High Springs, FL asked in Criminal Law, Federal Crimes and Personal Injury for Florida

Q: If a person acts in self defense but gets arrested can anything happen to the person who started it?

1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Nicholas Lygnos
Michael Nicholas Lygnos
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Clearwater, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Is the initial aggressor in a fight solely responsible?

Not always. Did you have an opportunity to retreat? Did you escalate the fight or continue when it could have been ended? In Florida, we have the stand your ground rule, a no duty to retreat law, but that will not always help. Who is the aggressor is a fact question. Sometimes those facts do not get sorted out until a jury decides.

Is a person acting in self-defense also subject to arrest?

Fighting is actually against the law. It is called "affray" and if it appears that persons are fighting by choice, it is a minor crime. Assuming you were voluntarily fighting and the other person "started it" you might not be charged, or if charged, you might get the charges dropped, or win an acquittal. The end result depends on what evidence the prosecution is depending on. Is this evidence sometimes undependable? That's a big yes. Does anybody care? Your lawyer is about the only one besides you who will care.

Go see a local lawyer in person. Take your paperwork from the arrest. Be prepared to pay the lawyer. It could be the best money you ever spent. Many employers do not hire people who have fighting or violence on their record. A lawyer might be able to keep your record clean, depending on your history of arrests. Good luck.

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