Is It Legal to Shoot an Intruder Who Enters My Home in Florida?



Florida is a “stand your ground” state, meaning self-defense may be a viable option to potentially avoid the legal repercussions of an act that, in another context, would be unlawful. For example, shooting someone is an unlawful act. However, if that person was a home intruder—under Florida’s stand-your-ground laws—shooting them may be a legitimate form of self-defense.

If you are facing criminal charges for defending yourself from a home intruder, it is imperative to meet with a criminal defense attorney. Here is some important information on Florida’s stand-your-ground laws.

Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground Law

Under Florida’s stand-your-ground law, a person is able to use deadly force as self-defense if they reasonably believe that such force is required to save himself or another person from imminent death, bodily harm, or any harm caused by a forcible felony.

In accordance with Florida law, if the defendant was in their house or vehicle, the law presumes that they had a reasonable fear of imminent death, danger, or bodily harm. Furthermore, the person who unlawfully entered the defendant’s house by force is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit a crime that involves force or violence.

The Limitations and Exceptions of Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground Law

Florida’s stand-your-ground statutes have limitations and conditions. For example, a person cannot be engaged in illegal activity—such as selling drugs— at the time they shoot an intruder. Additionally, if you shoot an intruder of your home, you cannot claim lawful self-defense if the person had the right or permission to enter your property.

Another example of an exception is shooting police officers. If you are legally in your home or vehicle and an intruder attempts to forcefully and without permission enter your property, you have the right to shoot them without warning. However, this same rule does not apply to police officers who are carrying out their duties. In the event that a police officer enters your property without your permission, you cannot shoot them. Any deadly force or physical force of any kind against police officers is unlawful.

Another complication of Florida’s stand-your-ground law arises in situations where a person shoots an intruder in the back. Specifically, if an intruder was in the process of leaving your property, the law may or may not be on your side depending on the specific events surrounding the intrusion. In a situation where an intruder is leaving your property, it can be argued that they did not pose an immediate threat and that it was not necessary to shoot them. There are situations in which an intruder could be leaving your property that are still dangerous. For example, they could be returning to their car to get equipment to harm you. However, shooting an intruder in the back as they are exiting the premises may mean you are not protected under Florida’s stand-your-ground laws.

Call Orlando’s Trusted Criminal Defense Attorneys for Assistance with Your Case

Florida’s stand-your-ground laws allow residents to use shooting as a form of self-defense when their safety is in imminent danger. However, there are some instances in which you may not be protected under the law. If you have recently been involved in a home intrusion in which you shot the intruder, it is imperative to seek legal counsel from a trusted criminal defense attorney.

At Fighter Law, our team is dedicated to fighting for our clients that have been wrongly accused. Our excellent legal team has a superb reputation for developing strong defenses for our clients and protecting their rights. Additionally, Attorney Thomas Feiter is Board Certified and one of the leading criminal defense attorneys in Central Florida. To discuss your situation with one of our skilled attorneys, call (407) FIGHTER (344-4837) or fill out our online contact form today.

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