Most people in Ocala do not anticipate ever facing charges related to violent crimes. At the same time, however, they may also not think twice about defending themselves in any situation in which they feel threatened. The question then inevitably becomes to what extent can one act in self-defense.

Most self-defense laws have their roots in either one of two philosophies: “Stand Your Ground” and “the Castle Doctrine.” Both share similarities, yet the latter places greater limitations in terms of scope.

“The Castle Doctrine”

“Stand Your Ground” laws state that a person has no duty to retreat from a scenario where another threatens them. These statutes typically apply to almost any situations in any locations; they usually only dictate the situational circumstances (e.g. when the law assumes a person may feel threatened) in which they apply. Per the National Conference of State Legislatures, “the Castle Doctrine” also allows one to defend themselves and others from potential harm, yet it limits the use of self-defense to scenarios where one is unlawfully attempting to enter into (or remove them from) their home, vehicle or any other dwelling where they have the legal right to be.

Florida’s self-defense laws

According to Florida law, the state seems to subscribe to the Castle Doctrine. Indeed, Section 776.013 of Florida’ state statutes, one can defend themselves (and others) when another attempts to break into their home (or forcefully remove them from it). That force can even extend to deadly force if the person believes it to be necessary to prevent suffering death or serious injury themselves. The only exceptions to this law include situations where the person against whom they act has a lawful right to be in the location, or they are a law enforcement officer attempting to perform their assigned duties.