The Law Office of James Davis, P.A.

Stand-Your-Ground Law in Florida

With the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law has gained national attention.

By: James Davis

The attention has resulted in the creation of a 17 member task force to consider whether the law should be amended.  Despite the negative attention garnered by the law, Florida’s criminal defense lawyers know that Florida’s law is not unlike many other laws across the country.

So what is Florida’s Stand Your Ground law?

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

The Stand Your Ground law is found in Florida State Statute 776.013.  The law states that a person may use defensive force against another if there is a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to his or herself.

The person whom force is used against must have been in the process of or have already unlawfully or forcefully entered a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle of another, or was in the process of or had already removed another against their will from such a place.  Further, the person using defensive force must have known or had reason to believe that one of these circumstances had taken place.

When the Stand Your Ground law Does Not Apply

The law does not apply if the person on whom defensive force was used against had a right to be in the dwelling, residence, or vehicle.  It also does not apply if the person being removed is a child or grandchild under the lawful custody or guardianship of the person who defensive force is used against.

The law is also inapplicable to those who use defensive force while engaged in unlawful activity.

Lastly, the law is not applicable to defensive force used by a law enforcement officer, or a person who attempts to enter or enters a dwelling, residence, or vehicle as part of their official duties.  Such a person must have announced themselves, and the person using force reasonably should have known that it was a law enforcement officer or other applicable person.  Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys know that this section applies to more than just police officers, and it has been a source of great tension in the Trayvon Martin case.

No Duty to Retreat

If a person meets the requirements of the law they have the right to stand their ground and meet force with force.  A person may also use deadly force if they reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves, to prevent death or great bodily harm to another, or to prevent a forcible felony.

This is the key component of this law. It means there is no duty to retreat before using such force.  This is one area of the law that some criminal defense lawyers contest.

Where to Get Legal Help

If you have been charged with an offense under circumstances that may relate to the Stand Your Ground law do not hesitate in contacting the knowledgeable Jacksonville criminal defense attorney James Davis (www.jamesdavisdefense.com ).  He can help you navigate the intricacies of this law in order to protect your rights.  Contact the Law Office of James Davis at (904) 358-0420 today.