Florida is often in the spotlight due to the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law. But this law was created not to be controversial, but to protect those that must use force to defend themselves. Everyone has the right to defend themselves and their families. For this reason, it’s important that you understand Florida’s stand your ground law not only so you can defend yourself in the event of an emergency, but so you can understand the potential charges brought against you if you are involved in a case like this. If you have been charged with manslaughter, consult with a manslaughter defense attorney in Tampa who can effectively fight for your charges to be dismissed.
Prior to the 2005 law, a threatened person had a “duty to retreat” before the use of deadly force could be considered permissible, meaning that a person was required to escape from or diffuse a dangerous situation before they could defend themselves.
With the passing of this law, there is no longer an obligation to retreat as long as the person is not breaking the law and in a place where they are legally allowed to be. Florida Statute 776.012 states:
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.
Not only do stand your ground laws ensure that you are well within your rights to defend yourself, but it also provides immunity from criminal prosecution and civil actions. In addition, a recent change to the law stipulates that the burden is on the State of Florida to prove that a person was not acting in self-defense, was not in fear of further harm, and should not be entitled to immunity.
Florida has possibly the strongest stand your ground law in the United States; however, it in no way guarantees immunity from punishment if force is used unjustifiably. As with the case of Michael Drejka, a defendant may still be charged with manslaughter even if they were not initially arrested. If you’ve used lethal force to defend yourself, you will likely require defense in a court of law. Consult with a manslaughter defense attorney in Tampa at The Rickman Law Firm who can fight to have your charges dropped, reduced, or dismissed.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.