Stand Your Ground

Fri, Sep 30, 2011

General Legal Issues

castle doctrineThe Stand Your Ground law is part of the Castle Doctrine, signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush on October 1, 2005. The Florida State Statutes address it in section 776.013. Florida has the distinction of being the first state to sign the doctrine into law.

The Castle Doctrine generally establishes:

  • that your home and car are places where you expect to be free from harm, i.e., your “castle.” Because of this, deadly force may be used on a criminal who forcibly enters your home or occupied vehicle with the intent to do great bodily harm to you or another person in those areas.
  • that you have the right to stand your ground and fight back with deadly force when you feel it is the only way to protect yourself and you are in a place you rightly deserve to be.
  • that criminals are not able to prosecute anyone who acts within the above circumstances, for any harm that may come to them. This restriction also applies to the criminal’s families.

Over time it has become obvious that many attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officers have varying definitions of where protecting yourself ends and breaking the law begins. Thus, the law is consistently debated. To read all the details about the Castle Doctrine and what situations it is meant to apply to, read our other blog post about the subject.

Because of the “Stand Your Ground” section of the castle doctrine, Florida residents and visitors have the right to defend themselves if they are in a place they are truly allowed to be and acting lawfully. Thus, it expands the definition of “castle” to include many other places like parking lots, stores, sidewalks, etc. Of course, sometimes the definition of where you are allowed to be is debated by law enforcement and other parties involved. Some other situations that present gray areas for the castle doctrine are when the self-defense involves a concealed weapon, seems unnecessary, involves people with previous violent records, and so on. SmithLaw feels a good attorney is necessary for anyone who acts in self-defense in any situation. Because, despite the castle doctrine law, many people face potential prosecution even when they feel they acted in self-defense.

Photo by Jordan S Hatcher

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