Understanding Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law
Florida Statute 776.013 lays out the law. Specifically, §776.013(3) states that “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.”
The law is controversial, but in any case, Zimmerman’s defense attorneys actually did not use the law as a defense.
The Zimmerman Case Actually Didn’t Use SYG as a Defense. But, How Does it Work and Why is There So Much Confusion?
Criminal attorney Robert Malove provides insight into the public’s confusion with Florida's Stand Your Ground law relating to the Zimmerman case: “I really don’t get all of the hubbub about the Stand Your Ground Law and the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case. The Stand Your Ground Law wasn’t even used as a defense in the case. The SYG law is a defense seeking immunity from prosecution.
The way it works is like this:
- If a defendant wants to rely on the Stand Your Ground law as a defense, a pre-trial motion is filed alleging facts that the accused had no duty to retreat and was entitled to use deadly force.
- A hearing is conducted, the accused must testify, be subject to cross-examination by the prosecutor and the judge determines if the SYG law applies.
- If it applies, then the judge issues an order and the accused receives complete immunity from prosecution.
“There was no pre-trial SYG motion filed by Zimmerman’s defense team. Zimmerman never testified at a pre-trial Stand Your Ground motion hearing.
“The George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin case was a straightforward self-defense case. It had absolutely nothing to do with Florida’s SYG law. Whether the SYG law is repealed or not, the Floridians will always have the right to defend themselves and others with deadly force to confront force likely to cause death or great bodily harm.”
Contacting a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney
If you’ve been charged with a crime, contact our Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney to discuss your case. We will review the details surrounding the case, and determine how best to proceed with a defense. Contact our office online or call (954) 861-0384 to set up your free consultation with our experienced criminal attorney, Robert Malove.