Thanks to a glut of high profile cases, Florida’s “stand your ground” laws have been the topic of much discussion in recent years. Essentially, these laws can be used as a criminal defense — or provide immunity from prosecution —if you are accused of injuring someone who is attacking you or entering your property unlawfully.
Now, a new bill signed by Florida’s governor expands those protections. First, it says that not only can people justifiably defend their property and person from physical force, they can also threaten to use force to defend if they feel harm to their person is imminent already. For instance, you might feel like your life is in danger because of the actions of another and, if you fire warning shots, it could be considered a justifiable use of force.
The law was reportedly prompted by the case of a woman who allegedly fired a warning shot at her husband while they were having an argument. She got a 20-year prison sentence, but is now appealing the decision. Some might argue that a law like this will make it easy for someone to whip out a gun anytime they find themselves in a heated situation, but proponents say that the new bill simply fills the gaps that were left by the previous “stand your ground” laws.
Of course, no one wants to face criminal charges, especially when acting in self-defense. Even the allegations can be damaging to your reputation in the community and at work. If you are looking at a criminal trial for an incident in Florida, an attorney can look at your case and may be able to mount a defense using the “stand your ground” laws.
Source: ktvu.com, “Florida Extends 'Stand Your Ground' To Cover Warning Shots,” July 10, 2014