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The Castle Doctrine: Understanding Florida’s Stand Your Ground Defense

Orlando Defense Feb. 22, 2022

Many criminal defendants use self-defense as an attempt to justify their actions.

However, the success of a self-defense claim depends on the laws of the state where the crime occurred.

In the United States, most states authorize self-defense under one of two theories: the Castle Doctrine or the Stand Your Ground law.

These two self-defense theories have some similarities, but it’s more important to understand the differences. 

If you have questions about defending against a criminal charge in Florida and don’t know which doctrine applies, Orlando Defense is standing by and ready to help.

Contact us today to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney and take the first step towards securing your future. 

What Is The Castle Doctrine?

Before 2005, Florida’s castle doctrine, also known as the Protect Your Castle law in Florida, gave individuals the right to use deadly force to protect themselves against an intruder in their own home. The Castle Doctrine considers a person’s home to be their “castle.”

States that still subscribe to the Castle Doctrine include:

  • Connecticut,

  • Delaware,

  • Hawaii,

  • Nebraska, and

  • North Dakota.

The Castle Doctrine does not require individuals to retreat from a violent situation if it occurs in their home or workplace.

On the other hand, if the situation occurs in a public place, the Castle Doctrine requires individuals to retreat to a place of safety, if possible.

The Castle Doctrine in Florida vanished following the passage of the new “Stand Your Ground” law in 2005.

What Is Florida’s Stand Your Ground Statute? 

Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute, adopted in 2005, generally allows individuals to use deadly force if they reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves or another, or in certain cases, while defending a dwelling, residence, or vehicle.

The law also authorizes deadly force by an individual to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

The Stand Your Ground law imposes two presumptions in a criminal case. First, a person is presumed to have a reasonable fear that deadly force was necessary to protect themself or another if someone unlawfully entered their home or vehicle.

Second, a person who unlawfully or by force enters the dwelling of another is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act using violence or the threat of violence.

Some of the states that implement a form of Stand Your Ground law include:

  • Alabama,

  • Alaska,

  • Arizona,

  • Florida,

  • Georgia,

  • Nevada,

  • Oklahoma,

  • Texas, and

  • West Virginia.

The primary distinction between the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground law involves the duty to retreat. Under the Stand Your Ground law, there is no duty to retreat, even in public places. Instead, you can “Stand Your Ground” and meet force with force.

Need  Help Understanding Self-defense Laws In Florida? Contact Orlando Defense Today

A valid claim of self-defense can justify the actions that led to your criminal charges.

A criminal defense attorney can help you understand Florida’s stand your ground statute and how it applies in your case.

If you don’t know whether the Stand Your Ground law or Castle Doctrine applies to your case, or if you need someone ready to stand up for your right to protect yourself, we’re here to help.

Call or email our office today for your free consultation.