In Jacksonville Do I have a Duty to Retreat, before Defensive Force may be used?

Castle.jpgrThe city of Jacksonville and all of Duval, for that matter, have a large population contained within a relatively small area. This population density, amongst other factors, plays into the amount of crime that occurs across Jacksonville and Duval together. Through my previous posts on Defendant rights and defenses, I am confronted with the question, “Do I have a duty to retreat before using defensive force against my attacker?” As a Criminal Defense Lawyer, I see this situation arise frequently, one suspect will attack another and that person will shoot or kill the original attacker. But, what are the legal consequences of these actions?

First and foremost, I am not condoning the use of defensive force and any situation and should only be utilized in a situation where defensive force is unavoidable. With that being said, Under Florida Law, known as the Castle Doctrine, one does not have a duty to retreat to prevent injury or death or prevent a forcible felony. This form of Self-Defense is articulated under Florida Statute § 776.013, which reads:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

But, what does all this mean for a Jacksonville Criminal Defendant? It means every situation where defensive force has been used must be evaluated under this statute to determine if the force used was justified as self-defense. This is a matter best handled by a Criminal Defense Lawyer. So, if you have been in an altercation and potentially have Jacksonville Criminal Charges pending, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer to review your case, make the proper determinations, and make sure your rights are being protected.

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