Where Do I Have the Right to Stand my Ground?
Individuals in Florida have the right to stand their ground – that is, the right to use firearms and other types of force against attackers without being required to retreat – in situations where they feel that their safety, property, or the safety of another individual is at risk. This right only exists in certain scenarios, though. Using force against a perceived attacker outside of these scenarios is not a protected act under Florida’s stand your ground law and can result in a criminal conviction.
Know when and where you have the right to stand your ground. In the heat of the moment, it can be easy to act irrationally. Prepare yourself for fight or flight situations by familiarizing yourself with Florida’s laws regarding appropriate actions during them. Florida’s stand your ground law has generated a significant amount of controversy since it was passed in 2005, such as the case of Trayvon Martin’s death and the potential correlation between the law and Florida’s increased homicide rate in recent years.
You Can Stand your Ground in your Home, your Vehicle, and Any Other Private Property you Own
Think of situations involving home intruders or attempted car jackings. These are the scenarios where it is appropriate to stand your ground. If an unauthorized individual enters your home or your vehicle with the intention of committing an unlawful act while inside, whether you are also inside the home or vehicle or not, you can use force to protect yourself from him or her. This is true even if the individual had previously been invited to enter the property, but the invitation has since expired.
When You Cannot Stand your Ground
Individuals who are engaged in illegal activities when they perceive threats to their safety do not have the right to use force against alleged attackers. Individuals who, themselves, are unlawfully occupying privately owned properties when altercations occur are also not permitted to cite self defense as a reason for using force. Individuals who are found to have provoked violence against themselves also cannot claim to have acted in self defense, unless they can demonstrate that they made every possible attempt to diffuse their situations prior to the situations becoming violent. If your case falls into one of these categories, talk to your lawyer about how to develop an effective defense strategy that might not involve citing your right to stand your ground.
Work with an Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a criminal charge after rightfully defending yourself against a potential attacker, work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend your case by demonstrating that you acted lawfully. Florida’s stand your ground law can be complicated and if you do not effectively tell your side of the story, you can find yourself facing criminal penalties for an offense you did not commit. To start working on your case’s defense strategy with a member of our team, contact Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC in Miami today to set up your initial consultation in our office.