Acting in self-defense is supposed to be one of the rare situations in which a person may legally take another’s life. Self-defense is the reasonable use of force to protect oneself or another from bodily harm upon an aggressor’s attack. The person using self-defense must have a reason to believe his or her life is in imminent danger. Unfortunately, for far too many women currently sitting in jails and prisons across the country, their acts of self-defense didn’t work out that way.
In recent history, the United States has developed a reputation for mass incarceration. While certain reforms have helped to reduce the total number of state prisoners since 2009, the women’s arrest rate has soared while the rate of arrests for men is on a path of decline. According to Prison Policy Initiative, women have become the fastest-growing segment of the incarcerated population. In some instances, the population of women in prison has grown so much that it canceled out the decline in the men’s population.
Many studies show that the vast majority of incarcerated women are victims of many types of abuse; in fact, 90% of women who are in prison for killing a man were abused by the men they killed. Do women deserve to face years of imprisonment for protecting their lives when the state failed to do so?
Why Do Women Serve Time for Self-Defense?
Many women face criminal consequences for taking domestic violence into their own hands. There are several reasons Florida’s self-defense laws fail women. South Florida women who resort to self-defense may face criminal charges including murder and attempted murder. Some may have their charges reduced to manslaughter as part of a plea bargain.
One reason women end up in prison is that they are more likely to call police and confess their actions immediately after a domestic violence incident rather than work with an attorney to protect their rights.
Another possible reason women end up in prison is because at times judges are bound to sentence them under mandatory minimum laws. Women who kill their abusers often do so with a knife or firearm, which leads them to serve more time than men who kill their romantic partners.
The Importance of Seeking Criminal Defense
Although women routinely end up in prison for protecting their lives and those of their children, anyone in a domestic violence situation is urged to take the necessary action to survive the attack and seek help. It is the job of police to protect citizens; however, when they fail, a reliable domestic violence defense lawyer can defend victims whose only crime is showing the will to live.
Attorney Brian P. Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel carefully examines all the facts of each case he receives to craft the most thorough defense possible. He has worked with and defended victims of domestic violence for over 25 years in Palm Beach County. Seek a free consultation by calling (561) 622-5575 or reach out to our firm online.