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Friend gets sucker punched by unknown, can we draw weapon?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by fbernar, May 19, 2011.

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  1. fbernar

    fbernar Member

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    Okay. This is a completely hypothetical question (this has NOT happened to me). Let's say I am walking with a friend or group of friends and all of a sudden an unknown person (or group of unknowns) comes and begins to hit one of my friends or several of them (sucker punch I guess).

    Am I justified, in the state of Florida, to draw my weapon to try and stop this from continuing in efforts to protect my friends/family?

    Thank you in advance. I just have so many questions that weren't really answered in my CCW class that I want to know the answers to.



    Since I'm asking... here are the others:

    I'm sitting in my car and someone begins to try to open the door by force and yelling for me to get out. Although the person is not showing a weapon, I am justified in drawing my weapon due to the castle doctrine correct?

    This question is similar to the first. Let's say I am walking down the street and all of a sudden a guy that I do NOT know gets jumped by a group of people and he is on the ground getting kicked and what not, am I justified in drawing my weapon?


    THANKS EVERYONE! I love this forum. God bless you all!
     
  2. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    Try S&T
    random attacks rarely occur, and even then, it is often a failure of awareness that allows it to get so far before you realize what is going on.

    POST YOUR STATE
    sorry, but the laws of your locality, state and country are going to determine what is, and isn't legal.
     
  3. Ohio Gun Guy

    Ohio Gun Guy Member

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    "Am I justified, in the state of Florida"
     
  4. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    I would say yes, however I do not live in Florida nor do I know their particular gun related laws.

    In my own opinion, I have a health issue that makes me a bit weaker than most people who are my size and age. If some dude 6'-7'' and weighing 380 pounds sucker-punches me, I will most likely be out like a light, if I am not, I am not going to wait for the second or third punches. I would draw out of fear for my life.

    The same is true if that same person were to open my vehicle door and try to "drag me out" of the vehicle (or tries to drag me out through my open window - with my seatbelt still on)! It would only make sense that a person wanting me out of my vehicle is doing it so he can either steal my vehicle and/or beat the daylights out of me. Again, out of fear for my life, my weapon would be trained on him. What happens next is up to him. At that point, it is his move so to speak. If he suddenly backs off upon seeing the gun, then great, no harm done. Hopefully I have enough info on this guy to get the police involved pronto.

    In the second scenario, I would make as much noise as possible to try to get bystanders or anyone to call the police. Yell, scream, lay on my horn, etc so all the attention is on this huge gorilla trying to pull me out of my open window.
     
  5. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    That could have been edited in before the timer that shows an edit happened on the post.
     
  6. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    Using a weapon to stop an unarmed attack by a single individual is often going to be a jury judgment call and it can go either way with the exact same circumstances depending on the jury.


    A situation with a group of active attackers also varies, especially if it is one group being attacked by another.
    A group attacking a single individual can be a clear disparity of force, but a group attacking another group may not be so obvious, and it can go either way.


    The perception of the jury counts a lot. Irregardless of the actual law. Even if legally justified the amount of force used against unarmed people can determine the sympathy of the jury for either side and whether you will be found guilty because of perceived excessive force.
    Age and other circumstances also will play a role in jury perception. If they perceive some young guys over reacting to a simple punch, and much of society thinks a punch is minor, then they may find the pulling and/or use of any weapon excessive and illegal escalation of force. Judging it like they would two school kids fighting on the playground and one pulling a weapon.
    Yet the same jury may find a couple older guys being harassed or attacked by some young thugs justified, not seeing it as peers fighting like they would for men around the same age as the attackers.
    Whether they envision you as young hotheads ready to fight or escalate anything that comes your way, or as mature responsible adults, can determine whether they feel your judgment is good, and as a result whether the same force was justified or excessive.
    What a middle aged family man might be found justified for doing a young college student may go to prison for.
    The law doesn't say that, it may not be fair, but it is reality.

    There is no simple answer in many such cases. If a gun is used against an unarmed person, especially if actually fired, a jury will typically decide the outcome and whether it was legal or illegal. Such a discretionary decision can be decided or influenced by all kinds of unrelated factors, from the character of the individual, to the experiences of members of the jury.
    It is certainly a scenario you do not want to find yourself in.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  7. fbernar

    fbernar Member

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    The "simple punch" term is what confuses me. There are some people that can one hitter quitter you and break your cheek bone with one punch. This is to say that there ARE MANY people out there that are capable of hitting with enough force with a PUNCH that it COULD CAUSE serious bodily harm as is called for by most state laws.
     
  8. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    i dont really get these threads regarding whether you are 'legally justified'

    you carry a gun for protection.....

    ask your self "is the life of myself or my friends/ family in eminent life threatening danger?"

    if you answer 'yes'......are you really going to allow yourself or family to be killed because it might not be legal?
     
  9. fbernar

    fbernar Member

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    M-Cameron,

    The purpose of these threads, well at least mine, is to educate myself and have questions I have answered. Or maybe you would prefer people with questions to not ask and then we pull out our weapons and go to prison. ;-p

    But seriously, I'm asking because there are situations where your LIFE may not be in danger, but your facial bones might be from punches as I have mentioned. Another question: does the possibility of a broken nose count as "serious bodily harm"?
     
  10. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    i understand the threads initial purpose.......but if you honestly believe you are going to be killed if you dont act......its kind of a non-issue......unless you hate prison more than death

    pretty much, if you need to ask a question when you pull out your gun.....you probably dont need to.

    for a broken nose......probably not.........a broken nose is no threat to your life

    and i dont imagine a jury would look to kindly on someone shooting an unarmed guy he got into a fight with.
     
  11. Alec

    Alec Member

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    Considering that a sufficiently powerful and well placed punch to the face can kill, I would say yes.
     
  12. fbernar

    fbernar Member

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    Alec, that's exactly what I mean. People act like a punch or something is not a big deal. A broken nose isn't serious bodily harm? So should I say, "Please sir. Punch me in the kidney region and break some ribs while you're at it so THEN I can use my weapon."

    I mean, not everyone can fight as well as their attacker. I just wish the government were more concrete sometimes. Am I alone in thinking like this?
     
  13. quatin

    quatin Member

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    When I took my CCW class here in Florida, I also had all these questions. Most of these questions were waved off with "depends" or "technically, but....". I was just as confused when I left as when I entered. The real answer that nobody wants to say is, you're "technically" justified in all 3 situations. However, you're still at risk for facing consequences even if the law permits you to do so. You could shoot a guy breaking into your house at night and still get prosecuted with a risk of getting convicted. Unlikely, yes, but still possible. I wish they had outright said this in the beginning and I would not have applied for my permit.
    If you're truly worried about these border line situations, prepare yourself with non-lethal tools. OC spray, tazers, batons and etc. The risk of repercussions gets higher the more hurt a person is (even if it's a criminal). If someone dies, you're almost guaranteed to face some consequences.
     
  14. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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    i think it's time for your friend to get his CCW :cool:
     
  15. snubbies

    snubbies Member

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    Sucker Punch

    Pulling you weapon in an effort to protect your friend is one thing, PULLING the trigger is another can of worms.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  16. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    Asking for what amounts to legal advice on the Internet is generally a poor idea. Consult a knowledgeable local attorney.

    Generally speaking, it is lawful to do so if and only if you have reason to believe (1) that the attacker (s) have the ability and opportunity to cause death or serious bodily harm and that they intend to do so and (2) that you and your friends have no other reasonable means of preventing death or serious bodily harm.

    Note that in your jurisdiction (as in most) you may not lawfully draw your weapon unless you are justified in actually using deadly force.

    The "black law" as written speaks of a person attempting to remove someone from an occupied vehicle. Whether there is case law on this I do not know, but I would seriously doubt that one may lawfully shoot someone because he is yelling for him or her to get out of his or her car. Lay opinion.

    Whether you know a person or not does not enter into the legality, but what is actually going on may not be what you believe you see. Would you really want to shoot people who are trying to arrest a felon, or who are defending themselves against a violent criminal actor? Have you considered how your story may not be consistent with all of the other testimony if you have intervened in an act of domestic violence?

    Understand that unless you are able to provide at least some evidence supporting your claim of reasonable belief, and unless the state does not provide strong evidence in contradiction--that is, unless you are able to show by a preponderance of the evidence that you were justified under the law-- you may well face prosecution and possibly a civil suit. As Zoogster points out, that is a situation in which you do not want to be.

    The best lay advice I can give is, consider your firearm the last resort, and draw it only if you have a clear and objective reason to believe that it is immediately necessary to use it to prevent death or serious bodily harm.
     
  17. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Fbernar - Kleanbore has given great advice. I suggest you seek out a local lawyer if you need any further clarification specific to your location.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  18. snubbies

    snubbies Member

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    Fixed

    Sorry for the giberish I got it fixed
     
  19. Leadhead

    Leadhead Member

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    What's the point of carrying if you can't use it?
    If you un holster a gun and present it to stop violence without actually shooting that would seem like an ideal outcome.
    Obviously if you shoot someone you will have to defend your actions in court.
     
  20. quatin

    quatin Member

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    The leading self-defense attorney in Florida is John Gutmacher. I sort of remember a quote of something in the order of $800 an hour for consultation with him. You'll need several hours to sort through the questions you just asked.

    He wrote a book called "Florida Firearms Laws, Use & Ownership" as a cliffs notes on his opinions of what the law says. I bought the book, because I couldn't get my questions answered in the CCW class either. You can get it for $20-$30, but it doesn't give you the clear cut yes/no answer you're looking for. The gist of it is, you're going to get in trouble if you shoot someone, even if the law clears you.
     
  21. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    Best survey the case (common) law in your state/county/city etc.

    In Virginia fists are NOT considered lethal weapons (this does not mean you cannot argue they could be in any specific case, just that you WILL have to argue your response was appropriate before the court) so responding immediately with lethal force absent other conditions will put you in a bad way at trial.
     
  22. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    The magic language is a "reasonable subjective fear of imminent serious bodily harm or death to you or someone else whom is an innocent victim" or words to that effect, varies by state. Look at the state statutes and familiarize yourself with them. This is general information ...

    If your "friend" were in a fisticuffs brawl and a mutual combatant, then probably not. If he was jumped and attacked then possibly. If the attacker had a weapon, or numbers, then likely yes.

    If a reasonable person, from a subjective standpoint, could determine that being drug from their car could lead to immediate serious injury or death, then yes.

    Being outnumbered and beaten would count, or being attacked by a person with a weapon (club, knife, chain, etc.) would too.
     
  23. Rmeju

    Rmeju Member

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    Try to remember it this way:

    The law tells citizens that they cannot kill unless they had a "reasonable" fear of death or GBH to themselves or someone else.

    The court tells jurors to figure out if someone doing XXXX to you makes your subjective fear of death or GBH "reasonable".

    The key here is--what do those 12 individuals think? Obviously the worse XXXX is, the better your chances of a favorable outcome (the best being non-prosecution). Since, of course, nobody knows the answer to that question, the general advice you get is to not shoot unless you really believe there's no other way to get out of the situation in one piece. Once you really believe that you'd rather roll your dice with a jury who may (or may not) be sympathetic to your circumstances rather than taking your chances with XXXX, that is when you can pull the trigger.

    Don't forget, you will answer for your actions, even if you were in the right. That's why the experienced guys on here will tell you they hope never to be stuck with that kind of a catch-22.
     
  24. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    Only an attorney could tell you that and unfortunately, only a Jury could really tell you for sure, but it would be AFTER THE Fact! I use the phrase "when in doubt, Don't!"

    If in doubt about pulling your weapon because it may be borderline-legal or illegal, I would hesitate and see how things work out. If the guy is Michael Tyson, you best believe I am not going to let him take one punch to my head.
     
  25. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    I'm not sure what that means.

    It is--as long as your presentation of the firearm is justified under the law, or at least is not found to have not been justified.

    Not necessarily--if the evidence at the scene and the testimony of eyewitnesses strongly indicate that the shooting (or the presentation of the weapon, for that matter) was justified under the law, the charging authority may decide to not pursue charges.

    Either way--draw, or draw and fire if shooting remains immediately necessary after the firearm has been presented--justification requires (1) the reasonable belief that doing so was immediately necessary to defend against imminent danger as described above, and (2) at least some evidence that supports that belief.

    Should you have to draw, and you do not want to do that unless you absolutely have to, it is important that you be the first to report the incident. Should someone else report it first, your defense of justification may well be handicapped.
     
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