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Did you commit a crime if you shoot a home invader?

The instinct to protect oneself is primal. Since the dawn of humanity, people have been defending themselves against acts of aggression from another person. It's natural to want to defend yourself, especially if a person enters your home without permission and with the intent to cause harm. However, are you guilty of a crime if you fight back and harm or kill the other person?

Cases that involve the shooting of a home invader are complex. You are entitled to defend yourself per two legal doctrines, the Stand Your Ground Doctrine and the Castle Doctrine. Even if you believe you were acting reasonably to defend yourself and your family, you may still find yourself in a position where you are facing criminal charges. Self-defense cases are complex, and you will find it beneficial to work with an experienced Florida attorney from the very beginning. 

Proving your actions were self-defense 

Charges of committing a violent crime against another individual are serious, even if you believe you did nothing wrong. In order to prove self-defense, you will generally need to prove one or more of the following elements:

  • You were not the aggressor during the incident.
  • You used an appropriate amount of force and did not act excessively.
  • You had reason to believe that force was necessary in the situation.
  • You believed that you were facing an imminent threat of attack.
  • You were trying to retreat from the aggressor or the situation. 

Both of the legal doctrines that allow for the defense of yourself and your home require that you act out of a sincere belief that you were facing the potential for personal harm to yourself or others who are in your home. There is often a question as to whether it is appropriate to use deadly force in these situations. In the moment, it can be difficult to determine a invader's intent, whether there was a weapon and whether that person planned to cause harm. 

A strong defense

Your future is worth defending. You may feel confused as to why you need a criminal defense if you were simply trying to protect yourself and your home, but it is possible to fight back and prove that you were acting reasonably according to the circumstances you were facing.

After an incident involving a home invasion and the shooting of the intruder, you may want to speak with an experienced defense attorney. This can help you understand what you can do to protect yourself and how to move forward if formally charged.

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