For the past several years, there has been much conversation and controversy across the nation surrounding the “stand your ground” law in Florida. Given the public’s continued interest, Florida citizens should be made aware of the facts regarding the law. Here is some information about the “stand your ground” law.
The Legal Text
Florida Statute 776.013 states in part, “A person who is in a dwelling or residence in which the person has a right to be, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use” force, whether deadly or nondeadly. This is known as castle doctrine, which has long been a staple of American common law.
However, Statute 776.012 is the one that introduced the “stand your ground” law. Unlike the aforementioned statute, which is specifically about the use of force against attackers in a home, this one more broadly touches on the justifiable use of force in general. The last sentence reads in part, “A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force … does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.”
The significant aspect of the latter law is in the last phrase, saying anyone can use force without first attempting to flee if he or she is “in a place where he or she has a right to be.” Having “no duty to retreat” has long been part of castle doctrine, but this statute extends the principles of castle doctrine to any public space and anywhere else where they are legally present. This can be used to get a trial dismissed or as self-defense during a trial.
When Is Use of Force Not Justified?
The “stand your ground” law is not intended to provide people with carte blanche to attack others on sight. A person’s use of deadly force is only legally justifiable “if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is 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.”
This exact piece of text, with the exact same words, can be found in both Statutes 776.012 and 776.013. It goes to show that in order for a “stand your ground” defense to work, an attorney must prove that their client believed – with reason – that they would otherwise have been murdered or seriously injured.
If you ever find yourself in a situation involving a shooting, you will want attorneys who are experienced with the state’s gun laws at your side. The Florida criminal defense attorneys at Broward Criminal Lawyer are ready and willing to provide any legal assistance that you or a loved one may want. Contact us today at (954) 462-1005 for a free consultation.