Self-defense laws differ depending on what state you’re in.
Florida’s self-defense laws include what lawmakers refer to as a “Stand Your Ground” law.
Many clients want to know, What is the Stand Your Ground law in Florida?
We’ve prepared a short guide to explain the Stand Your Ground law in Florida and how it applies in criminal cases.
If you are charged with a crime in Florida, you need to contact an attorney right away to defend your rights. Contact Orlando Defense today to discuss your case.
Stand Your Ground Law in Florida
In 2005, the legislature made changes to Florida’s self-defense laws.
The newly adopted Stand Your Ground law allows individuals to use deadly force if they reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themself or another.
Additionally, the law authorizes deadly force to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. Unlike some other states, Florida does not require individuals to retreat to a place of safety instead of using deadly force.
Proper application of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law introduces requires proof that:
- The defendant reasonably believed that deadly force was 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, or
- The defendant acts under and according to the circumstances set forth in Section 776.013 of the Florida Statutes, which presumes a reasonable belief as to the necessity of force in the context of defending dwellings, residences, or vehicles.
If a defendant has been charged with a violent crime and can prove that either of those factors apply to their case, then they are immune from prosecution for that offense.
Unlike Florida, some states use what is known as the ‘castle doctrine’ to determine whether deadly force was justified.
Under the castle doctrine, individuals have a duty to retreat instead of using deadly force in a public space. The duty to retreat does not apply if the individual is in their home or workplace. No such duty applies in Florida.
Exceptions to the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida
The Stand Your Ground law doesn’t apply in certain situations. According to the statute, it doesn’t apply if the individual attempting to defend themselves is committing a crime.
For example, an armed robber cannot shoot someone during the robbery and then claim they were defending themselves.
Additionally, Florida’s stand your ground law doesn’t apply when deadly force is used against a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of their official duties.
Furthermore, you cannot use the stand your ground law to justify the use of deadly force if you intentionally provoked the other party.
And if the other party attempted to withdraw from the confrontation, use of force under the Stand Your Ground law is not justified.
Criminal defendants can only claim self-defense under the Stand Your Ground law if force was used in a place the defendant was legally allowed to be.
Get a Free Consultation From a Self-Defense Lawyer in Florida
If you’re facing criminal charges, a valid legal defense under the stand your ground law could apply to your case.
A criminal defense attorney gives you the best chance of having your charges reduced or dismissed entirely.
As a former public defender, Attorney Jeffery Higgins possesses extensive experience representing defendants facing criminal charges.
If you don’t know whether the Stand Your Ground law applies to your case, we’re here to help. Call or email our office today for your free consultation.