When Does “Stand Your Ground” Protect Defendants from Conviction?
Florida’s “stand your ground” defense has received much attention in recent years due to high-profile shooting cases. This controversial law allows Floridians to “meet force with force – including deadly force.” The 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, in particular, raised serious criticisms of Florida’s “stand your ground” law. The Washington Post reports that Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, claimed self-defense. He was ultimately acquitted of both murder and manslaughter by a Florida jury in 2013.
With so much media attention, it is inevitable that there will be misinformation and confusion about the operation of the “stand your ground” defense. In the material below, the experienced defense lawyer at Stroleny Law, P.A. explains how this defense works. If you or a loved one is facing any type of firearms charges, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Call (305) 615-1285 today to schedule a consultation with our highly skilled Miami criminal defense attorney.
The Legal Right to Defense of Self, Others, and Property
The penal codes of all states allow protections for actions taken in self-defense. The extent of protected actions varies from state to state. Many states also protect actions in defense of another person, or one’s own property, but the extent of protection is almost always less than that afforded for actions taken in self-defense. For example: deadly force may not be allowed for the protection of only property, but it can often be successfully defended if there was a genuine threat to the person’s life.
This is exactly the distinction that caused so much confusion in Florida. In the Trayvon Martin case, for example, critics believe that George Zimmerman (an armed 28-year-old) could not possibly have felt himself to be in mortal danger from Trayvon Martin (an unarmed 17-year-old). Similar confusion has arisen in a domestic violence case out of St. Petersburg. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Jay Chandler wanted to stop his estranged wife from leaving the house with their children. He got in the driver’s seat of their vehicle and attempted to pull it back in the garage, but his wife reached into the driver’s seat and grabbed the steering wheel to prevent Chandler from returning the children to the home. Jay accelerated anyway, and ended up dragging his wife approximately forty feet. Now, his attorneys argue that he was “standing his ground” to prevent his wife from forcefully taking his property. Legal experts are divided on whether Chandler might have a viable defense.
Skilled Defense of Self-Defense Cases
It is important for Floridians to be able to defend themselves from unlawful acts. It is also important to understand how the “stand your ground” defense works, and not to exceed the scope of this legal authority. If you have questions about self-defense or are facing charges, call (305) 615-1285 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney at Stroleny Law, P.A..
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.
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