Perhaps the most commonly cited defense to a murder charge in police drama shows on television is self-defense. Many in the public consider it the perfect defense, yet it rarely is used in actual cases despite its seemingly perfect fit for a defendant in a murder case.
It seems simple — you feared for your life and used force in order to not be injured yourself. But it is so infrequently used because the opportunity doesn’t often present itself. But in Florida, under the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground laws, self-defense is applicable.
Unfortunately, though, law enforcement and prosecutors sometimes disregard the law and still slam people with serious charges such as murder in Jacksonville, requiring them to take the case to trial to allow the truth to be revealed.
An experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney revels in the opportunity to get a client out of the charges and out of custody by using a self-defense theory at trial.
In Jacksonville recently, a homeowner heard glass breaking and took his shotgun and a flashlight to investigate. When he saw a person trying to break into his house, he fired, injuring a 16-year-old and 19-year-old, who were found with gunshot wounds at a nearby house, The Florida Times-Union reports.
While police haven’t filed charges against the homeowner, in some cases, prosecutors would take a hard look at the homeowner in possibly filing charges, whether the burglary suspect died or not. Charges in that case could range from aggravated battery to attempted murder if the wrong prosecutor gets the file.
But under the two sets of laws, homeowners are allowed to protect their “castle” by using deadly force, if necessary. Under Stand Your Ground, a person can use force if he or she feels they were at risk for harm by someone else.
According to a recent article in the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, many defendants are using Stand Your Ground, enacted in 2005, in an effort to get out of murder charges. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that judges must evaluate a defendant’s claim for protection under the law before trial and, if denied, defendants are still able to use the defense before a jury at trial.
Stand Your Ground gives added protection because, unlike the Castle Doctrine, it allows people to defend themselves in a car, on a boat or even walking down the street.
This is great news for someone who is attacked or whose home is broken into and fears for their safety. For those who face serious charges as a result of defending themselves, this may be a viable defense at trial. Jacksonville murder charges are serious and must be defended, using any legal means necessary.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
More Blog Entries:
Homeless Man Arrested in Connection With Jacksonville Murder: September 7, 2011
DNA Evidence Cited in St. Johns County Domestic Violence Homicide: September 2, 2011
Jacksonville police: Murray Hill homeowner defends himself against pair of burglars, by Clifford Davis, The Florida Times-Union
More accused hope to use ‘Stand Your Ground’ law to gain freedom, by Alexia Campbell, Sun Sentinel