Florida, like many other states, has adopted a “Stand Your Ground” law that is based on the age-old Castle Doctrine that gives people a right to protect themselves and their families from unlawful intruders.
Unlike many other states, however, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law offers broader protections for citizens who rely on this rule as a defense for their actions.
For example, residents of this state have the right to a forceful defense against a threat of imminent bodily harm or death anywhere they happen to lawfully be — whether that’s in a store, in a parking lot or on a sidewalk, not just in their homes and cars.
In addition, Florida recently strengthened the protections extended under this law by putting the burden of proof on the police and the prosecution if they want to show that the law does not apply to your situation. In essence, you have immunity from being charged and prosecuted if the law applies. In fact, if an officer makes a wrongful arrest that violates your right to immunity, that officer can face civil penalties and other repercussions.
What could this mean for you?
Well, if you’ve recently been in an altercation where you believed that you had to defend yourself or someone else through force, it’s wisest not to assume that you won’t be charged with assault, manslaughter or something else until you have official confirmation. The police and the prosecutor may be going through a lengthy examination of the evidence before making up their minds about whether to pursue charges against you.
If you’ve been involved in a violent altercation with someone else, talk to an experienced defense attorney. Even if you aren’t currently facing charges, they may be coming — and it’s best to be prepared.