When are Florida Homicide Crimes Justified?
In 2005, Florida expanded a person’s self defense rights when the legislature removed a provision of the law that required a threatened individual to attempt retreat before using deadly force in a home invasion. To provide some background information, a person is justified in using force in defense of themselves or another person when they reasonably believe imminent an unlawful force is being used or is about to be used against them. Likewise, if a person fears deadly force is imminent, they may use deadly force against their attacker and they generally have no duty to first attempt to escape the situation so long as they are not engaged in criminal activity themselves. Additionally, the would-be victim must also have a right to be in the location that they are.
The statute further provides that in protecting your home, a reasonable fear of imminent harm or death is presumed where an attacker is unlawfully and forcefully entering or has entered your home or dwelling so long as you are aware of the unlawful entry.
There are Exceptions to the Allowance of Using Deadly Force Self-Defense
Although the statutory grant allowing for the use of deadly force during a home invasion seems broad, there are limitations. The presumption that a person does have a reasonable fear of imminent peril or death does not apply if:
- The would-be attacker has a right to enter the home or dwelling
- The would-be attacker is a child, grandchild or under the guardianship of the individual using defensive force
- The individual using defensive force is engaged in criminal activity
- The individual using defensive force is using the force against a police officer
While some of the exceptions to the justified use of deadly force are specifically laid out, in some situations whether or not a person is justified in defending themselves or another person with deadly force will hinge on the legal definition of a “forcible felony”. Note, that the language does not provide that person will be justified if they reasonably believe the action constituted a forcible felony, but rather the action must be a forcible felony as defined by law.
An Experienced Miami-Dade Criminal Defense Attorney is Necessary in a Self-Defense Case
Although the state of Florida seems to get a lot of press coverage related to its stand your ground laws, it is important to realize that at times a person may truly believe they are justified in the use of deadly force to defend themselves or another, when in fact their actions fall into an excepted category.
An experienced Florida criminal defense attorney will be key in helping you present the best case, based on facts and legal arguments, you have in asserting justifications for your actions. Attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, has over 42 years of experience defending criminal acts of all kinds, and knows better than most how often a perceived criminal act is actually justified. Please call us today for an initial consultation at no cost to you.