Florida Self-Defense: Stand Your Ground or Retreat?

Written by:Julian Stroleny PortraitJulian Stroleny

With “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida, you are no longer obligated to run when you are in danger.  “Stand Your Ground” is a law centered on self-defense.  Other names for this notorious law include “Line in the Sand” law or “No Duty to Retreat” law.  Most recently, the controversial law gained national attention during the George Zimmerman case involving the death of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.  Essentially, the law allows an individual to use force in self-defense without first exercising the duty to retreat.  Although a qualified Florida criminal defense attorney can assist you in understanding the particularities of the law, here are some of the basics regarding the “Stand Your Ground” law.

A duty to retreat demands that an individual “under an imminent threat retreat from that threat as much as possible” before resorting to the use of force in self-defense.  Nowadays, states that still require individuals to retreat are more flexible in their demands.  Other states have replaced laws requiring a duty to retreat with “Stand Your Ground” laws.   Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to find out the applicable law in your state.

“Stand Your Ground” laws permit, under certain situations, the use of force as a means of self-defense without first retreating from the threat.  This law was enacted to eliminate any misunderstanding about when an individual faced with an imminent threat can employ force.  Additionally, the law serves to legally protect individuals who appropriately used self-defense without having tried to retreat beforehand.

Some of the controversy over “Stand Your Ground” laws stems from the view that it supports violence over passive alternatives.  Those against the law say it promotes a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to self-defense which can lead to unnecessary violence and death.

Although the controversy over the law is more alive than ever, Florida continues to stand by its self-defense approach.  For now, “Stand Your Ground” laws will continue to provide immunity to those who legitimately use force in self-defense in the wake of an imminent threat.

If you have any questions regarding “Stand Your Ground” laws, experienced Miami criminal defense attorney Julian Stroleny can help you. Contact Stroleny Law: Criminal Defense Attorney today for your Miami criminal defense needs.

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