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Florida Self Defense When Using A Gun

Florida Self Defense When Using A Gun

It’s nearly everyone’s nightmare—someone breaking into your home while you’re home alone or at home with children. Florida self defense laws allow use of a gun under certain circumstances.

When faced with this scenario in Florida, you often must act quickly to stop the threat. In some cases, you resort to using a gun to shoot the intruder. But when you are allowed to use your gun is not always so clear.

elderly woman holding gun for self defense

In many states, including Florida, we have codified and expanded the common law of the “castle doctrine” which says that individuals have the right to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect themselves against an intruder in their home. The Florida self defense statute that deals with the right to defend yourself and your family is commonly called “Stand Your Ground” law. In the state of Florida, our law means as a potential victim, one does not have a duty to retreat, has the right to stand their ground, and use or threaten to use force, including deadly force, such as use of a firearm to protect themselves.

What Is “Stand Your Ground?”

Florida’s controversial self defense laws allow the use of deadly force if a person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent grievous bodily harm or imminent death to themselves or another person. It further allows for the use of deadly force to prevent another from committing a forcible felony, such as burglary, or aggravated assault/battery, when you are in a place where you are legally allowed to be, such as your home or car.

Unlike some states, “Stand Your Ground” here in Florida also means a person does not have that duty to retreat to safety before using a gun or other weapon to inflict harm, even fatally killing someone. Nationally, at least 27 states have “Stand Your Ground” laws.

What’s the Controversy?

Self-defense can be easy to see as necessary like the case of a woman who shot and killed an intruder in Pensacola in 2021. The man had a knife when he broke into the home screaming threats. He was in violation of a restraining order for domestic violence by being there. Security camera video recorded the man, including his six kicks to the front door. The woman and her children escaped to a rear bedroom. He went through each room to find the occupants while threatened the woman with harm. When he opened the door she had escaped to, she fired two shots. After Escambia County police investigated, she was not charged as it was determined she had properly acted in self defense as outlined under the Florida self defense law “Stand Your Ground.”

Since all cases are investigated, charges may be brought or not. And not every case is “easy” to determine if self defense was properly executed under Flroida law. That is where the controversy comes in, when it is not clear if the shooting was reasonable, necessary, or really self defense. Because our law does not require a duty to retreat, it can leave those who shoot and claim self defense under greater examination as to the necessity to shoot. What was the threat? Was it reasonable to shoot? Was the person really in fear for their life or the children’s lives? If charges are brought, the defendant needs to prove that they were “standing their ground” lawfully, and not everyone is able to do that.

Every Florida Self Defense Case Is Different

Florida’s law gives immunity from prosecution for those who used deadly force to defend themselves from an attacker. But Florida self defense law does not specify an obvious “line in the sand” that shows that a person did or did not follow the law. When an arrest is made and charges brought, it is because law enforcement do believe that the use of deadly force was not necessary. In this case, a defense lawyer may invoke the “Stand Your Ground” defense to show that lethal force was required.

West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law allows citizens to defend themselves against imminent, violent crime. But there are occasions where the situation is not clear and you may face arrest and prosecution. That is when you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. You may feel justified but if arrested or brought in for questioning, you should have a lawyer with you during questioning. It is your right and is honestly the safest way to proceed to protect your rights and possibly your freedom.

Dealing with the police can be frightening and you may say or do the wrong thing, because you are thinking you can explain your way of it. We believe that it is best if you consult with a criminal defense attorney anytime you are asked to speak to the police, but especially if you have been involved in a shooting. If you are charged with a crime, your attorney can defend you.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or accused of a crime in Florida and in particular the West Palm Beach area, contact the criminal defense team of Farkas & Crowley as soon as possible. Call (561)-444-9529 or contact us online. We are available 24/7.

Why Choose Us?

Certified by the Florida Bar

Experience in both defense & prosecution

Focus on criminal law

Aggressive, committed attorneys & legal staff ready to defend your rights

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Looking for a criminal law firm? Farkas & Crowley, P.A. are the attorneys for you. They are extremely knowledgeable of the law and go the extra mile for their clients. Their expertise and impeccable work ethic are hard to beat. Available 24/7. Highly recommended.

-Marla Newman

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West Palm Beach, FL 33401


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Farkas & Crowley, PA

Criminal Defense & Family Law Lawyers