Florida Self-Defense & Stand Your Ground Law
The laws in Florida allow citizens to defend themselves should the need arise. Therefore, if you have been charged with a crime of violence when you were defending yourself, someone else, or your home, you may have a defense under the state’s self-defense and Stand Your Ground Laws. At the offices of Donald C. Barrett, Attorney at Law, we are legal professionals that believe in your right to protect yourself, your family, and your belongings. If you feel that you have been wrongfully charged with a crime of violence for using necessary force, contact our firm today.
What was the law of self defense in Florida before stand your ground?
Before stand your ground became law in 2005, self-defense was a more limited defense than it is now. Traditionally, it was an affirmative defense that allowed the accused to admit that they used violence, but that the violence was necessary to repel another person’s imminent use of unlawful force. Self-defense was restrictive, however, in that the defendant had a “duty to retreat” when possible, and only when retreating was not an option was the use of force allowed.
The exception to the “duty to retreat” before stand your ground became law was known as the Castle Doctrine. This doctrine held that a person has a right to defend their home without first attempting to retreat.
What is the stand your ground law?
The stand your ground law can be found in Florida Statute §776.012, and it differentiates between the use of deadly force and the use of non-deadly force.
- Non-Deadly Force: When a person reasonably believes that using or threatening to use force is necessary to defend themselves or another against someone else’s use of imminent force, then they are justified if they use or threaten to use non-deadly force. There is no duty to retreat before using or threatening to use force under these circumstances.
- Deadly Force: When a person reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themself or another, then they are justified if they use or threaten to use deadly force. When a person is acting in accordance with this part of the statute, there is no duty to retreat and the person has a right to stand his or her ground as long as they are not engaged in a criminal activity and are in a place where they have a right to be.
In other words, the stand your ground doctrine removes the duty to retreat and expands the Castle Doctrine to include areas other than a person’s home, including public places.
Let Us Defend You
If you have been charged with a crime of violence due to using force to protect yourself, someone else, or your property, you need experienced counsel that is willing to aggressively defend your rights. Contact the offices of Donald C. Barrett, Attorney at Law, to schedule a free initial consultation and discover how we are able and willing to fight for the justice you deserve.