Florida Self Defense Laws: What Risks One Takes When Stopping a Crime With a Gun

In the wake of national criticism over Florida’s self-defense laws, the public should be informed about the many common misconceptions and unknowns about self-defense, as well as the differences between raising self-defense in the home and raising defense of self or others in public. If one has been charged with a violent crime and one believes one was acting in self-defense, one should contact an experienced defense attorney who can mount the best defense possible to the charge.

When law-abiding citizens carry a gun, they implicitly decide to take the responsibility of protecting themselves against potential threats and also accept the legal and moral consequences of carrying a deadly weapon. Pulling your concealed firearm to stop a crime in progress is a life-changing decision. indexgun.jpg

Before carrying your gun again in public, ask yourself whether or not you are prepared to go to jail to stop a crime. Most concealed gun carriers will risk their lives and freedom to defend themselves and their immediate family. But defending others, even when the use of deadly force is warranted, ups the ante. Is it your moral obligation to step in and help when a crime is in progress?

Many times, people view those who have committed crimes in the past as always intending to commit a crime once again. This aids society’s illegitimate fear for their safety from those citizens possessing firearms. As such, denying gun permits to otherwise eligible persons on an irrational basis might be in some circumstances, uniquely unconstitutional. Many times, people are denied having a weapon at all because of a prior criminal history, whether violent or non-violent, a previous or current failure to register one’s weapon, or being listed on a sex offender registry. In fact, being a member of these groups might give one more cause for carrying a deadly weapon, not only for the defense of others, but the defense of oneself from vigilante violence.

Jacksonville murder crimes typically involve some intent on the part of the accused to harm the victim, or an intent to kill, typically without regard to human life. However, the issue of self-defense arises in crimes where a person has been attacked violently and fears for their lives. The question of whether a person is justified in using a firearm against another, in some situations, no one can truly answer. However, the question of one’s location at the time of the incident may determine what defense one raises to the alleged crime.

There are many defenses that one can raise in home invasion situations when charged with “murder” of the burglar or invader of any sort. Reasonable fear of “great bodily harm” is sufficient to justify the use of deadly force when the person against whom the force was used was in the process of illegally and forcefully entering, or had illegally and forcefully entered, a home or occupied car, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from a home or occupied car.

The decision to pull a gun in public can lead to unfortunate consequences, even if the reason for pulling one’s weapon is for the defense of another’s life. What might one do in a situation in which one’s spouse or children are threatened or harmed, where if one does not intervene, there is a high likelihood someone will get killed or severely injured?

The principle that person may use deadly force in self-defense if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm has been the law in Florida for well over a century. The most recent of cases involving George Zimmerman and Michael David Dunn, both who claimed they felt threatened and used firearms to defend themselves, have raised the defense of Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground defense.

Unfortunately for many though, the State as well as Judges draw a very fine line as to what meets the criteria for self-defense, and many are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Charges in these cases could range from aggravated battery to attempted murder if the wrong prosecutor gets the file. Therefore it is important to obtain an experienced attorney as soon as possible to ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected.

If one has been accused of a crime such as this, one should obtain an experienced attorney who knows the law and will make sure that the proper defense is raised and that there will be a high likelihood of a favorable outcome to the case, possibly even having the case dismissed. When one has been charged with committing a crime like this, one has only one choice that one should feel they have to make. One should obtain an experienced Jacksonville felony-violent crimes defense attorney who has the trial experience and knowledge to properly defend one’s innocence.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Source: Should You Use Your Gun To Stop A Crime?, The Daily Caller