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In these uncertain times, it is not beyond the pale to contemplate the need to act in self-defense or in defense of another. In the United States, it has been well-established that a person is entitled to defend him or herself in the home. The statute, “use or threatened use of force in defense of person” provides that
“[a] person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”
The Florida self-defense statute, well recognized as the “Stand Your Ground” law, was one of the first self-defense statutes of this sort that both removes the duty to retreat and also is a significant expansion beyond the “Castle Doctrine” and states that
“[a] person who uses or threatens to use deadly force…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.”
When invoking your right to defend yourself under Florida law, there are a number of other important statutory provisions to be aware of. For example, Florida law provides that a person who properly engages in the justifiable use or threatened use of force is immune from both civil liability and criminal prosecution. It should be noted that the statute defines “criminal prosecution” includes “arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.”
Given that definition in the statute, there is broad allowance for discretion in a determination that an individual was entitled to engage in self-defense. A police officer arriving at the scene can find that an individual properly engaged in self-defense, or they may, based on their sole interpretation, determine that the individual actually committed a crime.
If you are arrested for defending yourself in the Tampa Bay region, please reach out to us for a consultation at (727) 933-0015. The attorneys at the Lopez Law Group are ready, willing and able to help you assert your self-defense claim and demonstrate to the court that you were entitled to a justifiable use of force under Florida law.