Self Defense has been an available affirmative defense to criminal cases since the dawn of society. Florida also has long acknowledged the fundamental right to use force in defense of self or others. The essential elements of self-defense have stayed about the same. A person may use deadly force when it is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to the person or to another person. The procedure and burden of proof required to make a self-defense argument has changed.
When someone is accused of the criminal charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, the deadly weapon can be almost anything. For example, a table, chair, baseball bat, firearm, or even a car or other vehicle can become a deadly weapon if used in a certain manner.
Battery is a criminal offense that reaches all levels of society, as proven by the recent encounter between Jay-Z and Solange, his sister-in-law, in the elevator at the Standard Hotel. While the description of the video on TMZ refers to this wild kicking and swinging as an assault, Solange's actions are called battery in Florida. For more on the difference between assault and battery, see my blog Assault and Battery - Very Different Meanings in Florida Criminal Law. Fortunately for Jay-Z, this video captured the altercation, otherwise he could be painted as the aggressor and could easily be the defendant instead of the victim.
Words mean things. In Florida criminal law the words "assault" and "battery" have completely different meanings. Both are criminal. Many times, in movies or television, the word assault and the words "assault and battery" are used to describe what is actually a battery in Florida. In essence, an assault is a credible threat and a battery is an unlicensed touching.