Florida’s stand your ground law permits people to use or threaten to use non-deadly force where needed in order to fight back against another person’s imminent use of unlawful force. Florida’s law also allows use of deadly force if it is necessary to protect oneself or another from the threat of death or significant bodily harm, or to prevent another person from engaging in a forcible felony like a burglary or carjacking.

You can use the stand your ground law as a defense if you have been arrested or criminally charged with engaging in conduct, like use of a firearm, that you undertook as a means of protecting yourself, your home or someone you love. Where you acted in actual self-defense, you cannot be criminally liable for any harm that may have occurred.

Florida’s law goes further than laws of other states in that it allows the use of deadly force in public without a duty to retreat, even in situations where the actor is not in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.

The essential element of a stand your ground defense is that the use of force was objectively reasonable. That is, a person in the same situation would have reasonably believed the force used to have been necessary. Florida’s law presumes such a reasonable belief when force was used to defend a person’s home or vehicle.

However, the stand your ground law does have exceptions. You may not claim self-defense or use force in these situations:

  • In response to a law enforcement officer who is performing official duties
  • In an attempt to commit a forcible felony yourself
  • Against a person who has the right to be on the property they are attempting to enter
  • Against a person you intentionally provoked into creating the threat

If you have been arrested for criminal conduct and believe you are entitled to immunity under the stand your ground law, you should consider speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Where self-defense is not entirely clear, law enforcement will want to investigate your case and might still proceed with criminal charges. An attorney can help to ensure that the police receive all of the evidence they need to understand and conclude that you were acting in self-defense at the time.

At the Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.C. in Orlando, I represent people charged with crimes throughout Florida, providing them with effective defense. Please call my office at 407-608-7777 or contact me online to arrange a free initial consultation.

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