Stand Your Ground Law

Criminal Defense Attorneys Representing the Accused in Sarasota

Ever since Florida’s infamous Trayvon Martin case dominated the news, Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law has been a controversial aspect of criminal law in the state. In that case, the accused, George Zimmerman asserted a stand your ground defense and was acquitted at trial for murder. Whether you think the result was right or wrong, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law has become a crucial asset for those charged with violent criminal offenses.

If you have been charged with a violent crime in Sarasota and you acted in self-defense, you should consult a dedicated Sarasota violent crime lawyer with experience using Florida’s Stand Your Ground law for the benefit of the client. A lawyer skilled in asserting Stand Your Ground defenses may be able to get the charges against you dropped or reduced before trial.

What is Stand Your Ground

Many states in this country have Stand Your Ground Laws. Essentially, the law is an extension of the traditional idea of self-defense. Prior to the proliferation of Stand Your Ground Laws, self-defense existed as a defense to almost any violent crime. If nondeadly force was threatened against you or a loved one, you were permitted to defend yourself with nondeadly force. If imminent deadly force was threatened, then you were permitted to used deadly force. However, under the traditional notion of self-defense, you would be required to retreat or attempt to retreat from a conflict before using any force in self-defense.

Stand Your Ground laws arose in response to the requirement of a duty to retreat under traditional self-defense laws. States like Florida put an emphasis on the right to defend oneself from an attacker and Stand Your Ground laws make it easier to assert self-defense by loosening the requirements for a person to defend oneself.

Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, encoded as section 776.012, a person who is threatened with deadly or nondeadly force may “stand his or her ground” and meet force with force in self-defense with no duty to retreat. Florida’s law removes the previously confusing requirements and simplifies self-defense law. While the law has been demonized and misinterpreted by the media, the truth is that a vast majority of Stand Your Ground cases involve a legitimate use of force in self-defense. A skilled Sarasota violent crimes lawyer can analyze your case to determine if a Stand Your Ground defense could benefit your case.

Florida’s version of the Stand Your Ground Law also contains a special provision that allows those accused of crimes to have a pre-trial hearing before a judge to determine if self-defense was properly asserted. This type of hearing can be a powerful weapon for anyone charged wit ha violent crime, as it gives the accused a nearly free shot at the dismissal of his or her case without incurring the risk of a trial. A dedicated and experienced Sarasota violent crimes attorney might be able to secure a dismissal of your case through the Stand Your Ground law.

Defending Your Home

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law secures special protections for those who assert self-defense when they are defending their home. In order to assert the use of deadly force self-defense, the accused must typically provide proof that they had a reasonable fear that a forcible felony would be committed against him or her or against another person. However, if you use deadly force to defend yourself inside of your own home or inside of a home where you are allowed to be, the reasonable fear that a forcible felony would be committed is presumed. This means that the burden is on the prosecutor to prove that you did no have a reasonable fear. As long as the person against whom force was used was not also allowed in the home, you can assert your right to self-defense and use deadly force to defend yourself. For example, if an intruder enters to burglarize your home or an angry neighbor enters in order to assault you, you will be presumed to have a reasonable fear that a forcible felony will be committed. Alternatively, if you get in a fight with a family member or friend who was also in the home, you may not be able to easily assert self defense.

Speak With a Sarasota Violent Crime Attorney Today

The attorneys at Hanlon Law are experienced in the realms of self-defense and Stand Your Ground law. If you are charged with a crime and you believe you acted in self-defense, contact Hanlon Law today at (727) 897-4851 so that we can develop a defense tailored to your case.

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