Stand Your Ground Law

Criminal Defense Lawyers Representing the Accused in Clearwater

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, enacted by the legislature in 2005, has attracted an enormous amount of media attention for its use in several high profile cases. The use of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law is an issue that has morally and politically divided many people. But in reality, the Stand Your Ground is a simple and effective law that can help a person who defends him or herself against another person and is charged with a violent crime as a result.

If you or a loved one are charged with a violent criminal offense, but you were acting in self-defense, you should contact a capable Clearwater violent crime attorney to help you present your defense. An attorney with expertise with the Stand Your Ground law may be able to get your case dismissed before trial or effectively present a Stand Your Ground defense to a jury.

What Is Stand Your Ground

Stand Your Ground is the name of Florida’s self-defense law under section 776.012. Under Florida’s version of the law, a person is permitted to use non-deadly force against another person if he or she reasonably believes that the force is necessary to protect against the other person’s use of unlawful force. A person may also use non-deadly force to expel someone who is unlawfully on their property or who has stolen something. More seriously, a person is permitted to use deadly force against another if he or she reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent the “imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

The difference between Florida’s self-defense law and traditional laws is the addition of the right to “Stand Your Ground.” Before Florida’s law was enacted, a person threatened with deadly or non-deadly force was required to retreat from the threatened force before they were allowed to use or threaten force in self-defense.

Now, under Florida’s self-defense law, those who act in self-defense no longer have a duty to retreat, and may “Stand Their Ground” to meet force with force. This change in the law removes the unnecessary and sometimes confusing requirement for a person to retreat and simplifies the criminal justice system. However, if you were the person who initially provoked the use of force against yourself, you can only assert self-defense if you attempt to retreat before using that force. If you are arrested for a crime after you acted in self-defense, it is critical that you contact a tested Clearwater violent crime attorney to aid you in your defense.

Defending Your Home

Florida’s self-defense law extends even greater protections to people who are defending their homes. Typically, in order to assert a Stand Your Ground defense for the use of deadly force, you have the burden to establish that you had a reasonable fear that a forcible felony was about to be committed against you or another innocent person. If a person unlawfully and forcefully enters into your home, you are presumed to have a reasonable fear of the commission of a forcible felony. This means that the burden is on the prosecution to prove that you DID NOT have a reasonable fear, a very difficult thing to prove. The presumption applies whether you are in your own home or the home of another where you have a right to be.

The presumption does not always apply just because someone who is in your home threatens to use force, however. If the other person also has aright to be in the home you are not presumed to have had a reasonable fear. For example, if you got into a fight with your roommate or housemate, this portion of the Stand Your Ground Law might not apply because they also had a right to be in the home.

Additionally, if the parent or legal guardian of a child in your home enters to lawfully remove that child, you would not be presumed to be in fear of that person if you used force against them to prevent the removal of the child. If you are using the home for unlawful purposes such as drug cultivation, you might also have difficulties raising a Stand Your Ground Defense.

Speak With a Clearwater Violent Crime Attorney Today

The attorneys at Hanlon Law have the experience and knowledge necessary to assert a Stand Your Ground defense in your case. When applied in the right circumstance, Stand Your Ground can get your case dismissed and can become a key aspect of your defense. Contact Hanlon Law now at (727) 897-5413.