You want your home to be a comfortable, safe place. Unfortunately, the threat of an intruder is always present. But if you have firearms, you might feel equipped to protect yourself and those around you.
Hopefully, you will never feel the need to fire your weapon at anyone. However, understanding Florida’s stand-your-ground law can help you determine whether any situation that endangers you merits the potential use of deadly force.
Circumstances that do not justify the use of deadly force
Most states require the duty to retreat, or leave the situation, whenever you feel threatened. However, in Florida, you can defend yourself against the threat of bodily harm – with force – without being prosecuted.
You have the right to presume that anyone who illegally forces themselves into your home is there with ill intent. However, you cannot present a self-defense claim if you fire at:
- Someone who has a legal right to be on the premises
- An identified on-duty law enforcement officer
- Your child or grandchild
You should also understand that stand-your-ground legislation will not protect you from legal consequences if you shoot someone while you are involved in criminal activity.
Following the law could still require legal counsel
The intricacies of self-defense laws are profound. You may need to convince a jury that your actions were necessary and reasonable. Or, you might need to strategize a defense against the person you wounded if they claim you hurt them intentionally, despite their efforts to communicate their intent to stop what they were doing and leave.
While you can stand your ground, you could face serious consequences for recognizing your right to protect yourself. A criminal defense attorney can help you fight accusations of criminal misconduct which may arise.