Pensacola Stand Your Ground Law Attorney
Assault and battery are considered serious criminal offenses in Florida. However, in certain circumstances, a person may be entitled to use or threaten physical force against another in self-defense. In Florida, the right to use self-defense in a residence or a vehicle is governed by a statute known as the Stand Your Ground law. This law establishes the right of people to use force in self-defense when confronted by someone forcibly and unlawfully entering one’s residence or vehicle.
Turn to the Pensacola assault and battery attorney of The Morris Firm if you were arrested for assault and battery for an incident that occurred in your home or vehicle. Our experienced attorney can investigate and review the details of your case to determine whether you are entitled to the protections of the Stand Your Ground law. If you were arrested for assault and battery after you believe you were acting in self-defense, contact The Morris Firm today for a free initial case evaluation. We’ll discuss your legal rights under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and talk about how the law might apply to your case.
What Is the “Stand Your Ground Law?”
Florida Statutes 776.013 set forth the state’s law governing the justifiable use of force. The statute is popularly known as the “Stand Your Ground Law.” Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law expanded the traditional “Castle Doctrine” that applies in most states. Under the Castle Doctrine, a person has no duty to retreat while in their home before using deadly force in self-defense, provided the person had a reasonable belief that they were facing imminent death or serious bodily injury and therefore deadly force was necessary.
Under the Stand Your Ground Law, a person being faced with the threat or imminent use of unlawful deadly force has a duty to attempt to retreat from the person or persons threatening such unlawful force if they can safely do so. If they cannot retreat, they may use deadly force in self-defense.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law creates a legal presumption that a person had a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or to others when they used self-defense in their own home or a residence they had a right to be in. This eliminates the need for someone claiming self-defense in their own home to assert an affirmative defense in an assault and battery trial, provided the conditions of the Stand Your Ground law are met.
When Does the Stand Your Ground Law Apply?
Under the Stand Your Ground Law, a person is presumed to have a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury to themselves or another if:
- The person against whom defensive force was threatened or used was in the process of or already had unlawfully and forcibly entered the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, and
- The person who threatened or used the defensive force knew or had reason to know that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful act was occurring
In addition, the law also presumes that a person who unlawfully and forcibly enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle does so with the intent to commit an unlawful act of force or violence.
The Stand Your Ground Law does not apply in circumstances like these:
- Defensive force being used against a person who had the right to be in or was a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle
- The person being forcibly removed from a dwelling, residence, or vehicle was a child, and the removal was being conducted by someone who had a lawful custody or guardianship order over the child
- The person who threatens or uses defensive force is themselves engaged in criminal activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or vehicle for criminal activity
- Defensive force is used against a law enforcement officer engaging the performance of their official duties, and the officer has either identified themselves or the person using defensive force knows or should know the individual was a law enforcement officer
What Should You Do After Being Arrested for Standing Your Ground?
If you are arrested for assault and battery when you believe that you acted within your rights under the Stand Your Ground Law, steps you should take to protect your legal rights and options include:
- Exercise your right to remain silent. If you are arrested, you are not required to tell the police officers anything about the incident in your home or vehicle or to answer any questions that investigators may ask you. Even if you are entitled to the legal protection of the Stand Your Ground Law, you may end up saying something that prosecutors may later try to use against you.
- Act respectfully. Although it can be frustrating to be arrested when you believe that you haven’t committed a crime, police officers are only doing their job when they arrest someone they believe has committed a crime. Keep calm and treat the officers with respect. Do not try to physically resist arrest, or try to run away, since you can be charged with another crime solely for that behavior.
- Demand to speak to an attorney. You also have the right to speak with an attorney and to have your attorney present during questioning or any court proceedings. You should contact an assault and battery attorney from The Morris Firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys can quickly get to work investigating your case and recovering the evidence that can show that you acted properly under the Stand Your Ground Law.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You with an Assault and Battery Charge
If you are facing an assault and battery charge, a criminal defense lawyer from The Morris Firm can help you defend yourself against your charges and advocate for your rights under the Stand Your Ground Law by:
- Performing a thorough, independent investigation of your case to secure the evidence needed to show that you properly acted in self-defense.
- Communicating with investigators and prosecutors on your behalf so that you can continue to exercise your right to remain silent and not speak to law enforcement.
- Challenging the reliability and admissibility of the prosecution’s evidence, and moving to dismiss your charges where appropriate.
- Appearing on your behalf and advocating for your rights and interests during court hearings.
Contact Us to Learn More about How the Stand Your Ground Law Applies to Your Case
Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, you may have an effective legal defense to charges of assault and battery. Call The Morris Firm at [phone number] or contact us through our website today for a free, confidential consultation to speak with an experienced member of our legal team about your case.