What is Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

In 2005, Florida Legislature made a move that drew national attention. The law, outlined in Sections 776.012 and 776.013 Florida Statutes, has come to be known as the “Stand Your Ground” law. This law increased the number of situations where a person can use deadly force. People have the right to self-defense in every state – Even using deadly force when necessary. However, until 2005, Florida residents had a “duty to retreat,” which meant they must flee before using deadly force.

In addition to removing the duty to retreat, the law presumed justification in certain situations. These include a person defending themselves in their home, vehicle, or other places. In addition, deadly force can be used when preventing harm to themselves or others or to prevent a “forcible felony.”

The law also outlined how to obtain prosecutorial immunity in these cases. We want to cover what the law means for you in this article.

What is a Forcible Felony?

776.08 Florida Statutes define a forcible felony as felonies that “involve using or threatening physical force or violence against any individual.” Listed examples include murder, carjacking, sexual battery, robbery, kidnapping, etc. These are felonies that threaten or intend to cause harm to others through violent means. Deadly force can be used to prevent these felonies. For example, if a person at a store overhears that a robber intends to shoot the clerk, they can act. In these cases, people have left, retrieved a weapon, and threatened or shot robbers. In many cases, they have the provision of prosecutorial immunity.

What is Prosecutorial Immunity?

This is immunity from prosecution for people accused of certain crimes. The State of Florida is barred from prosecuting individuals whose actions fall within Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” statutes. This is what is meant by “immunity” in this use. As of 2017, the defendant’s burden of proof requirement shifted to protect defendants further. The defendant only needs to establish a prima facie (first impression) of self-defense. After this point, prosecutors must prove that the defendant does not qualify for immunity.

When Does “Stand Your Ground” Apply?

The first qualification is that a person must be in a place they have a right to be. The provisions won’t apply to trespassers or people who commit other crimes. The next requirement is a reasonable fear of immediate death or harm. If a person believes they or another are in danger, they have a right to act.

However, there are cases where “Stand Your Ground” may not apply. First, the fear must be reasonable as deadly force can’t be used in an unreasonable way. The individual must have a reasonable belief that deadly force is required. It also doesn’t apply when force is used against police officers entering space on police business. In these cases, the officer is required to identify themselves. Unreasonable use of force may result in charges such as murder.

Contact Us To Learn More

Though the “Stand Your Ground” law empowers citizens, it isn’t an open season on criminals. The use of deadly force is not something to take lightly. Self-defense claims are the most carefully examined and debated claims in law. If you’re facing criminal charges – Whether involving deadly force or not – Contact us today or visit our website. Serious matters demand serious representation, and we are here to represent you.