Understanding Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law”
As gun control becomes a more widely discussed topic, many people are focusing their attention on existing law and how it impacts their rights. In many ways, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has acted as a blueprint for other states to follow since it was signed into statute by Governor Jeb Bush in 2005. In fact, it was the first state to ever create this type of legislation. However, cases such as those involving George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn have put a spotlight on the law despite its existence for several years prior. Now, the law is receiving more attention as politicians express their opinion about the law. While many Florida voters support “Stand Your Ground”, not everybody is clear about what the law really states and what it protects. When this law becomes part of a defense strategy, it is essential that people understand what the law really means for real-life situations.
What Does “Stand Your Ground” Really Mean?
The truth is, this is a controversial law that has buzzed around media for quite some time. Some information that is available to citizens may be half-true or not true at all. It’s important that people understand what the law really says.
Sections 776.012, and 776.013, of Florida Statutes states the following as an explanation for the Stand Your Ground law:
- an individual believes that their life is in danger and the only reasonable reaction is to resort to force in order to avoid personal harm.
- an individual protects their home or vehicle due to reasonable belief of great bodily harm and/or death.
The ability to protect yourself has been legal in the state of Florida for over a century. However, the critical difference is that prior to Stand Your Ground a person was required to exhaust all other resources before relying on self-defense. Now, people are not required to retreat, but can instead resort to justifiable use of force to protect their home or vehicle. The law requires that people reasonably feel that their life is in jeopardy and, therefore, have a right to protect themselves from harm.
What Stand Your Ground Protects
Some people may wonder why this law is necessary, especially if it is already legal for people to react in self-defense. Essentially the law is in place for the following reasons:
- The law protects people from prosecutors undermining self-defense claims based on the ability of a person to flee their attacker;
- The law allows people who fear bodily harm or death to protect their home and vehicle without fear of legal ramifications; and
- The law provides clear guidelines for when deadly force is considered justified.
If You Want to Know More
It is important that citizens are aware of how laws can impact their rights and the true meaning of said laws. With so much information available, it can be difficult to distinguish the truth. If you would like to know more about this law, please contact the knowledgeable Skier Law Firm located in West Palm Beach, Florida.