Stand Your Ground Defense

In the few years, Florida has gained notoriety for its “stand your ground” defense. It establishes a person’s right to defend themselves or others if there’s a threat or perceived threat. The legislation allows the person defending to even use lethal force if necessary, regardless of whether safely retreating is a possible option.

Florida Statute Section 776.013 states the defendant has no duty to retreat from any place where they have a lawful right to be such as their home. Establishing a stand your ground defense can give you immunity from any charges that would have arisen from the incident. If you or someone you know may qualify for the stand your ground defense, then it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you.

Defense Attorney for Stand Your Ground in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Realizing there’s a threat or intruder in your home can be terrifying. You have little time to rationalize your next move and do whatever’s possible to ensure you and your family are safe. In some cases, this can result in the preparator being gravely injured or even killed. If a similar instance has happened to you, we recommend you seek legal representation.

Hiring an experience attorney can greatly increase your chances of obtaining immunity from these charges. Contact Meltzer & Bell if you are in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our lawyers will do whatever we can to get you the best possible result for your case. Call us now at (754) 755-8554 to set up your first consultation free today.

Meltzer & Bell accepts clients throughout the greater Broward County area including Hollywood, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

Overview of Stand Your Ground in Florida


Florida’s Stand Your Ground Statute

The state of Florida implemented the Stand Your Ground defense as a way for law-abiding people to protect themselves and their families in case they are attacked or perceive a threat. The defense doesn’t require the defendant to fulfill their duty to retreat, which means if there was a possible option to escape without harming the attacker you cannot exert lethal force.

The Stand Your Ground defense is established in Florida Statute Section 776.013, which states:

  • A person in a residence where they don’t have a duty to retreat and have a right to stand their ground can use or threaten to use the following;
    • Nondeadly force to defend themselves or their family;
    • Deadly force if they believe that using this type of force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves or their family

Florida law states a person is presumed to have enough reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm for themselves or their family if the attacker:

  • Was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering or had already entered a dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle;
  • Was in the process of attempting to remove another person against their will from a dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle; or
  • If the defendant knew or had reason to believe an unlawful or forcible entry or unlawful or forcible act was occurring or had occurred

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Exceptions to Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

Florida allows certain exceptions to the Stand Your Ground rule. You cannot utilize the Stand Your Ground defense if:

  • The person you threatened or attacked had a right to be in the same space or was a lawful residence of the dwelling, residence or vehicle;
  • The person who is unlawfully entering is a child or grandchild or is your lawful custody or guardianship;
  • You were engaged in criminal activity in the dwelling, residence or vehicle and the person who broke in was also committing a crime; or
  • The person who is being threatened or attacked is a law enforcement officer who is performing their official duties and identified themselves in accordance to the law

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Stand Your Ground Law Grants Immunity

Successfully implementing the Stand Your Ground defense means you may be immune from civil action and criminal prosecution. Florida Statute Section 776.032 states a person who uses or threatens to use force under the Stand Your Ground defense is justified in their conduct and immune from any sort of criminal or civil legal action.

Those who claim the Stand Your Ground defense cannot be arrested, detained or prosecuted in trial as a defendant. The only way an arrest can occur is if there is probable cause that the force used or threatened was unlawful. The court will also reward attorney’s fees, court costs and compensation for loss of income and expenses for any claim brought by the plaintiff if the defendant is deemed to be immune from civil action.

Once a prima facie claim of Stand Your Ground defense has been raised by the defendant, then the court will schedule a pre-trial immunity hearing. At this hearing, the court will decide whether the defendant’s use of force fit the Stand Your Ground statute. The defendant bears the burden of proof and must show they “stood their ground’ by clear and convincing evidence.


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Additional Resources

Effects of Stand Your Ground on Violent Crimes – Visit the official website for RAND, a non-profit corporation that is dedicated to balancing the right to bear arms and the concern for public health and safety. Access their site to learn more about how stand your ground has effected violent crime statistics and if it actually helps protect victims of violent crimes.

Florida Stand Your Ground Law – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, a collection of Florida laws and legislation. Access the site to learn more about stand your ground when affronted by force or when a police officer is allowed to apply deadly force.


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Defense Lawyer for Stand Your Ground in Broward County, FL

If you or someone you know may be eligible for the stand your ground defense, then it’s important you have trained legal counsel on your side. Our lawyers at Meltzer & Bell have been practicing criminal defense for years and want to utilize our knowledge for your case.

Call us now at (754) 755-8554 and we’ll set up a free consultation today. Come into our office and we’ll discuss strategies and legal options you can choose to apply to your case. We practice throughout the Fort Lauderdale area including Hollywood, Miramar, Pembroke Pines and Davie.


This article was last updated on September 4, 2019.

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