Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law
Florida’s stand your ground law states that an individual is justified in using deadly force against another person if he or she reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to him or herself, or to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to another person. Stand your ground often comes into play with home invasions where a homeowner is vulnerable to death or serious bodily harm from an intruder’s conduct. Stand your ground may also come into play when an individual is walking down the street and he or she is robbed with the use of a deadly weapon.
What Florida’s stand your ground law does is take away any requirement that an individual has a duty to retreat or take all steps possible to avoid inflicting deadly force on someone in an act of self-defense. The stand your ground law allows an individual to use deadly force so long as the individual reasonably believed such deadly force was necessary to avoid imminent death or serious bodily harm.
Applying Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law
If you have been charged with murder and you believe Florida’s stand your ground law justifies your conduct in defending yourself, you must seek to prove your conduct fell within the confines of the stand your ground law. With the help of a qualified Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney, you can essentially seek dismissal of the criminal charges against you if it is determined that your conduct was in compliance with Florida’s stand your ground law. The prosecution cannot go forward if your act of killing another was clearly within the limits of what Florida’s stand your ground law allows, and this determination is made by a court.
As such, Florida’s stand your ground law provides some support for individuals who act in self-defense and can prove their conduct met the requirements of the statute. There are situations where retreating from a dangerous situation would only increase the risk of serious harm or death, so Florida’s stand your ground law allows individuals in those very dangerous situations to have a way of lawfully protecting themselves or their loved ones nearby.
Florida’s stand your ground law will not protect every act of self-defense. While it does broaden the scope of what is considered self-defense in Florida, the abolished duty to retreat does not apply to any individual committing unlawful activity or being present in a place he or she cannot lawfully be at the time the act of self-defense occurred.
Further, an individual cannot rely on Florida’s stand your ground law if he or she committed a forcible felony and attempted to escape or did in fact escape after committing the crime. Another exception to Florida’s stand your ground law is that an individual who provokes a violent situation that results in a person’s death will not be able to use Florida’s stand your ground law to justify his or her conduct.