When a person is accused of committing any kind of a crime of violence in Florida, prosecutors will aggressively pursue harsh sentences. Alleged offenders are portrayed as dangers to society that need to be locked away in order to serve the best interests of the community.
People who have been charged with violent crimes may have only been acting in self-defense or the defense of other parties. It is important for these alleged offenders to make sure that the facts of their cases are accurately presented so they are not convicted and sentenced to several years in prison and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines.Violent Crimes Lawyer in Broward County, Florida
Were you recently arrested for the alleged commission of any kind of crime of violence in Florida? Do not say anything to authorities without legal representation.
Evan A. Hoffman of The Hoffman Firm is a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who fights to protect the rights of clients in Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Sunrise, Dania Beach, and many nearby areas in Broward County. Call (954) 524-4474 or complete an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and discuss your legal options during a free consultation.
Florida Violent Crimes Information Center
- How does Florida define a crime of violence?
- What is the Stand Your Ground law?
- Where can victims of violent crime learn more about their rights in Broward County?
Types of Violent Crimes in Fort Lauderdale
Crimes of violence involve the accusation that alleged offenders used or threatened to use violence on alleged victims. Several offenses in the Florida Statutes are considered violent crimes, with examples of common offenses including:
- Assault/Aggravated Assault;
- Battery on Law Enforcement Officer;
- Resisting Arrest;
- Hate Crimes;
- Battery/Aggravated Battery;
- Manslaughter; and
Some crimes of violence are misdemeanors, but many others are felony offenses. Furthermore, criminal charges can be subject to enhanced penalties when an alleged crime involved certain factors.
For example, a violent crime that involved the use or attempted use of a firearm or destructive device may be subject to minimum prison sentences under the state’s 10-20-Life Law. Additionally, a crime of violence in which an alleged offender intentionally selected an alleged victim based on his or her race, color, religion, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, or advanced age can be classified as a hate crime.
Stand Your Ground Law Defense in Florida
For many years, Florida’s self-defense claims essentially relied on the “castle doctrine,” a theory that a person’s home is his or her castle and the homeowner is afforded certain protections and immunity from criminal charges for protecting him or herself in the home. The castle doctrine was subject to criticism, however, because people were still expected to use every reasonable means within their power to avoid the danger—including retreat—before using deadly force.
In 2005, Florida enacted statutes better known as the “Stand Your Ground” law that removed the duty to retreat. Chapter 776 of the Florida Statutes is dedicated to Justifiable Use of Force, and Under Florida Statute § 776.012 established:
- A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.
- A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
Furthermore, Florida Statute § 776.031 established:
- A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.
- A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
Florida Statute § 776.013(3) states that a person “who is attacked in his or her dwelling, residence, or vehicle has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use force, including deadly force, if he or she uses or threatens to use force in accordance with” the statutes listed above. Under Florida Statute § 776.013(1), a person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using or threatening to use defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
- The person against whom the defensive force was used or threatened was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
- The person who uses or threatens to use defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
Broward County Resources for Violent Crimes
Victim Services Unit | Broward Sheriff's Office — Visit this website to learn more about the Broward Sheriff's Office’s Victim Services Unit, which provides assistance for the victims of violent crimes. Read the Victim’s Bill of Rights and download a copy of the Victims & Witnesses Handbook. You can also find several links to additional information about violent crimes.
Broward Sheriff's Office
2601 W. Broward Blvd.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312
Fort Lauderdale Police Department | Victim Services — Victim Advocates with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department respond to crime scenes to provide free crisis intervention and referrals to victims of violent crimes. On this website, you can learn more about the many ways advocates assist victims and register for assistance. You can also find a link to the Homeland Security Investigations Victim Notification Program.
Fort Lauderdale Police Department
1300 West Broward Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
If you or your loved one has been arrested for any kind of crime of violence in Florida, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. The Hoffman Firm aggressively defends clients throughout Broward County, including Hollywood, Miramar, Plantation, Hallandale Beach, Margate, and several surrounding communities.
As a former Assistant State Attorney for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman understands the most effective ways to defend these cases. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (954) 524-4474 or submit an online contact form to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.