The initial purpose of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” was to ensure that ordinary citizens have the right to defend themselves without fear of an arrest or trial. Lately, however, Florida police officers have tried to avail themselves of the law.
Proponents say that the law applies to “any person”—and that police officers obviously fall under that category. Critics say that the law makes it too easy to claim self-defense—especially in cases where police clearly could have avoided the use of violence. Moreover, critics allege that allowing police officers to use the law goes beyond the original scope and intent of the law. In their view, the law was only intended for ordinary citizens—not police officers.
Florida courts are divided as to whether or not the Stand Your Ground Law applies to police officers in the same way as it does ordinary citizens. In court cases, judges have leaned both ways on the issue.
If you were charged with an assault or other crime of violence, you may have legal defenses available to you, including self-defense. The knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group can review your case and may help you formulate a good defense to your criminal charge.
What Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” Says
Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law came on the books in 2005. Prosecutors opposed the law from the moment the legislature passed it. Basically, the law does the following:
- Eliminates a person’s duty to retreat from a dangerous situation
- Allows people to “stand their ground” in a dangerous situation—including in their own home
- Allows people to use deadly force if they reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to prevent death or grave bodily harm to themselves or someone else
The law may shield the individual using deadly force from a criminal trial. Moreover, it indemnifies that person from a civil suit for money damages. Although other states in the country have different versions of the Stand Your Ground Law, experts claim that Florida is the only state where police officers have attempted to avail themselves of such a law.
Police Officers and Their Use of Deadly Force
In Florida, police officers are already permitted to use deadly force if they perceive danger. Moreover, if anyone questions whether a true danger actually existed, judges and prosecutors oftentimes give police officers the benefit of the doubt. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law, when applied to police officers, essentially gives them another chance to use deadly force during an altercation if they feel they need to.
Call a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you are charged with a crime of violence, or if you believe that a police officer used unnecessary or excessive force against you, contact the criminal defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida, criminal defense lawyer, please call us or contact us online.