Having your safety threatened so much that it compels you to take someone’s life is an experience most people cannot relate to. It can be traumatic. Having homicide charges thrown at you on top of that trauma can only make things worse.
Fortunately, Florida offers a “stand your ground” law to citizens in your situation, Florida Statutes 776.012 and 776.013. Florida government created the law to protect the rights of citizens who threaten or use force against others in self-defense. Defending a stand your ground case is challenging though. The first step to defense is understanding the law.
This two-part blog post covers each statute of the law. For part one, the focus will be on F.S. 776.012. This statute applies the stand your ground law to personal protection. The other statute, F.S. 776.013, covers home protection and is in part two.
When the statute justifies force but nonlethal only
There are times when you can defend yourself only using nonlethal force. This part of the law grants you the right to threaten or use nonlethal force against someone you reasonably believe is going to use force against you or others. Note this applies to someone you believe is going to use nonlethal force, not someone you believe is going to use lethal force.
When the statute justifies lethal force
When it comes to deadly force, the law says you have the right to threaten or use it in situations where you feel your life or the life of another is in immediate danger. It also grants lethal force to stop a forcible felony.
Other things to note
Whether you threaten or use lethal or nonlethal force, the statute also notes there is “no duty to retreat.” Many states justify lethal force only after you make a reasonable attempt to exit the threatening environment. In Florida, this is not the case. As long as you are obeying the law when someone threatens your safety or the safety of others, F.S. 776.012 says you are under no obligation to try to escape.