You Shot an Intruder Dead –Was it Murder?
You are asleep in bed in your own home when you are suddenly woken up by a faint sound coming from another room in the house. You get up, pick up your handgun which you always have by the bed and quietly creep out into the corridor. There’s a movement at the other end of the corridor and you think you see something shiny. You point your gun in the general direction of the intruder and fire. Whoever it was falls to the ground and when you reach him, you find that he is dead. Could you be charged with murder?
The short answer is that you probably wouldn’t, but it does depend on the exact circumstances and you would certainly be advised to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to represent you in what is bound to be a critical examination of what went on in your house.
Florida’s self-defense law
You are generally allowed to use either non-deadly or deadly force to resist an intruder in your own home if you believe that your use of that force might prevent death or bodily harm. The same self defense law allows you to use deadly force to prevent an intruder from breaking into your own home.
The stand your ground legislation which was passed back in 2005 and extended last year goes further in what you are allowed to do without actually being charged with either manslaughter or murder both of which are felony charges. When Florida passed this legislation it was the first state to do so. Now, more than 20 other states have the same or similar legislation. It doesn’t really apply to home invasion or burglaries as the law protects you from what could otherwise be an illegal act already as mentioned above. But say you were just getting out of your car near your home and are confronted by a guy with a gun demanding you hand over your keys or your wallet or both. The law previous to the present legislation required you to ‘retreat,’ if possible. What retreat would have meant if you were faced by a guy with a gun is, of course, open to interpretation. Now, you are able to use ‘deadly force’ without being required to retreat, as long as you believe that your life was in imminent danger.
The stand your ground addition to Florida’s self-defense laws means that you could theoretically defend yourself with a firearm just about anywhere, assuming that you had a firearm on you. The legislation has been quite controversial and in some states has proven impossible to be repeated. The main objection is that if you shoot someone dead, and there were no eye witnesses, police have little to go on apart from your testimony that some bad guy (or gal) was out to get you in the street. What if you just didn’t like someone so shot them dead and used self-defense as an excuse?
If you really did shoot someone dead inside your home and the person had broken into your home, the chances of you being charged with murder are very low. Even so, you are definitely advised to hire a good criminal defense attorney if anything like this happens to you. In Miami, contact renowned criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes, Esq. You can reach his office at 305-644-1800.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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