The use of stand your ground laws in Florida have been controversial for some time. Here we will go over the basics around this law.
What is Stand Your Ground?
The enactment of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in 2005 did not create a new type of affirmative defense with regard to the use of deadly force. The principle that a person may use deadly force in self-defense if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm has been the law in Florida for well over a century. Lovett v. State, 30 Fla. 142, 163-64 (Fla. 1892) (reciting 19th century standard that “to excuse homicide there must exist on the part of the slayer an actual necessity to kill in order to prevent the commission of a felony or great bodily harm, or a reasonable belief in his mind that such necessity exists”). However, prior to the enactment of ‘Stand Your Ground,’ a person could not use deadly force in self-defense without first using every reasonable means within his or her power to retreat from the danger. Call if you have questions.
Duty of Retreat
The legal ability to use deadly force in order to prevent death or great bodily harm (to one’s self or others) has been the law in Florida (and a majority of States) for well over a century. The departure from the common law occurs in the discussion of ‘retreat.’ § 776.012(2) specifically provides that: A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be (emphasis added). Thus, in all scenarios where a person is engaged in lawful activity and is lawfully present, he or she does not owe an attacker a duty to retreat or otherwise disengage. The user of force may stand his or her ground, and resort to deadly force, so long he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to avert death or great bodily harm. We are here to help you. Call today.
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