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When Can I Use Lethal Force Against a Trespasser?

When Can I Use Lethal Force Against a Trespasser?

There is a lot of discussion around the nation about average citizens using justifiable lethal force against those who seek to do them harm. To many, defending property using lethal force seems excessive, while proponents argue that these laws protect the innocent.

The Florida Legislature allows property owners to “stand their ground” against trespassers, and the Justifiable Use of Force law aims to empower citizens against criminals. Within reason, law-abiding Floridians have the right to protect their homes and vehicles against encroachment.

Fear of Imminent Peril of Death or Great Bodily Harm

The authorities use a “fear of imminent peril” standard to decide whether or not the use of lethal force was warranted. When a person trespasses on the property of another, and this fact becomes known to the owner, then lethal force designed to protect the homestead is legal under statutory law. Defensive action against an intruder becomes justifiable because the law assumes a property holder has a reasonable fear of danger, given that an unknown individual used force to gain entry.

When Force Cannot Be Used Against Trespassers

However, despite the law’s seemingly broad application, there are limitations. For example, the law does not allow lethal force to be used on someone with a legal right to be on the property, such as a lessee. Children and those under the guardianship of the property owner cannot be subjected to such force, either. Furthermore, authorities can charge the user of lethal force if criminal activity had been ongoing at the time of the incident. Also, deadly force remains illegal if the “trespasser” is a member of law enforcement, acting in that capacity.

Contact the Khonsari Law Group for Legal Counsel

No two cases are the same, which is why you need an attorney with an extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system to come up with a custom defense for your case. If you are seeking a professional and dedicated criminal defense attorney for your case, contact the Khonsari Law Group. Consultations are always free and we will review the facts of your case before advising you on how to proceed. We are committed to protecting your rights, and will fight vigorously for your freedom. Criminal justice courts can be a confusing and overwhelming experience; you need a qualified attorney on your side.

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