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Is it Illegal to Attack a Robber?

If you are the victim of a robber, can you legally fight back by attacking the robber?In most states, you can defend yourself and use deadly force, such as a firearm, if a person enters your house with the intent to commit a burglary, robbery, sexual attackor assault. Florida law, however, presumes that a person entering your home without your knowledge or consent is doing so to commit a forcible felony.

The same policy applies to occupied motor vehicles. The concept of self-defense in other contexts, however, usually requires the victim to first retreat and to warn the assailant of your intent to shoot. In Florida, however, you need not retreat first or warn should your home or occupied vehicle be entered under the above circumstances.

Florida law extends the doctrine of “your home is your castle” to outside the home as well as illustrated in the well-publicized “stand your ground” law. The focus of this law was highlighted by the Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case. In that situation, George Zimmerman, an armed crime watch volunteer, suspected that Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, was intruding in a Florida community and confronted him. What occurred next is in dispute, but Zimmerman claimed he was attacked and shot Martin in self-defense.

In many other states, Zimmerman would have had the duty to attempt to retreat safely if threatened and not to use deadly force unless he reasonably felt his life was in danger. Under Florida law, Zimmerman argued that he was threatened and could use whatever force was necessary.

If you are being robbed, then the perpetrator by the definition of the offense is using a firearm or deadly weapon to force you into giving something up. Consequently, you could likely use whatever force is at your disposal to attack the robber. If,however, you see someone being robbed, it is probably unlawful for you to attack the robber since you are not being threatened, unless the victim is a family member.

In any context, it is probably best to avoid confrontation with anyone who is armed. For more information on self-defense law in Florida, contact The Wiseman Law Firm.

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