What are the facts about Florida's "stand your ground" law?


Quick Answer

As of 2015, Florida laws recognize that individuals may justifiably use or threaten to use force when protecting themselves, their homes or their property from aggressors, the Florida Legislature explains. The degree of force depends on whether individuals are simply defending themselves against unlawful acts or protecting themselves from serious bodily harm. When acting in self-defense, individuals are immune to criminal prosecution as long as they don't use force against law enforcement officers who are following standard procedures.

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Full Answer

The "stand your ground" laws are based subjectively on whether or not individuals perceive themselves to be in danger, according to the Florida Legislature. For example, deadly force is inappropriate if an individual is defending himself against unlawful force, such as mugging, but he does not necessarily believe he is in mortal danger. The person doesn't have to make an effort to retreat before using force against the attacker.

A person can justify use of deadly force if he has a reasonable fear that an attacker's intended use of deadly force may fatally harm him or another person, as in the case of a violent home invasion, the Florida Legislature notes. "Stand your ground" statutes only apply to individuals who aren't engaged in criminal activity themselves and who have a right to be at the location of the incident. This set of statutes also excludes scenarios in which the defensive force occurs against a person who lawfully resides at the location of the incident or a person who is in the custody of the aggressor, such as a child.

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