Would this be legal in Florida?


OrlandoChuck

New member
Some time ago I had an incident and of course back then I was not carrying. I often wondered how it would have been different if I had my carry piece with me, and if I did, would I or should I have used it. And would I have been within the law.

This was the scenerio....

My wife and I had parked at a local store to do some shopping at night. When we came out of the store and back to the car there was someone in my car and he was going through it and putting our valuables on the seat to steal. I quickly pulled him out of the car and began yelling at him. He walked over a couple of parking spaces and and got into his truck where there was a girl waiting for him. As he started the truck and was going to back out to drive away, I saw that he had a duffel bag in the bed of the truck. I don't know why but when I realized that he was going to get away, I grabbed the duffel bag. He threw it in park, got out and came after me with a knife. I yelled to my wife to run back into the store and get the cop that was fortunately at the door. Meanwhile I was keeping the duffel bag between me and that knife as he was trying to get me with it. After what seemed like an hour (Probably less than 2 minutes), the cop showed up and told him to drop the knife, which he promtly did and was arrested.
What I am wondering is if I was carrying and pulled my firearm out when I first encountered him in my car, could I have ordered him to the ground and held him there til police arrived?
Again, when I first encountered him If I pulled the firearm out and he lunged at me, could I have used the gun and been within the law?
 

Phillip Gain

New member
If you want legal advice...best to get it from an attorney who knows the laws, as opposed to opinions from faceless forum folks.

Without answering to the legality - you'd have been foolish to engage someone for breaking into your (empty of people) car. No lives were at stake. Your best option would have been to send your wife for the cop in the store right away, while being a good witness and getting a description of the guy, his truck, his license plate, etc. NEVER risk your life for "stuff." (And keep your most expensive "stuff" insured, for this very reason.)

If you had elected to engage him anyway, and he had pulled a knife, you would be justified in defending yourself with your firearm, shooting until the threat was stopped.
 

Pinnacle Safety

New member
I believe only on Tx can you protect property with deadly force and there you can protect your neighbors property also but you do have the right to detain someone for police in most states. always check your local laws yourself
 

Cotillion

New member
Trying to simply detain someone is a dangerous scenario, everybody reacts differently. He might have charged at you, at which point you would have to prove shooting him was your only option of safety, or he could have simply given you the finger and walked away knowing that if you shoot him youre going to jail. Option 3 is better, beat him silly then tell the cops he rushed you after you caught him
 

festus

God Bless Our Troops!!!
I am not a lawyer...this is not legal advice...this is just my opinion

A better response may have been to keep your distance and yell at the guy to get the %^&&* out of your car.
If he pulled a weapon you would have been reasonably safe and already have the drop on the clown. Nothing but nothing in your car is worth your life or his.

I believe you have every right to confront a thief. To call him out and then if he persists with life threatening violence towards you proceed as follows...stop the threat using deadly force in accordance with Florida law.

The last thing you want is to draw down on some unarmed clown who is just as happy to remove your rights since he has already screwed up his life. Trust me these types of legal battles usually cost bunches of money and seldom end well.

Again stay legal and stay safe
 

balrog

New member
If you go to the FAQ section of the Florida Concealed Carry website, exactly this type of situation is addressed. It would have been illegal for you to brandish your firearm to detain the person and you would likely have been arrested. You cannot act as a LEO except to prevent a situation where physical harm, loss of life, rape or other serious potentially lethal crime is being committed.
 

Tucker's Mom

New member
If you go to the FAQ section of the Florida Concealed Carry website, exactly this type of situation is addressed. It would have been illegal for you to brandish your firearm to detain the person and you would likely have been arrested. You cannot act as a LEO except to prevent a situation where physical harm, loss of life, rape or other serious potentially lethal crime is being committed.
Hmmm...interesting. Here in MO your car is included in the Castle Doctrine. You have a right to protect your property and your home. Your car is considered also "your home".
 

HootmonSccy

New member
Hmmm...interesting. Here in MO your car is included in the Castle Doctrine. You have a right to protect your property and your home. Your car is considered also "your home".

Florida is the same, but I have a question.. If you are outside your home, and you discover someone is in your house, do you go in after them, or call 911 and be a good witness (same senario, under castle doctrine, but your home instead of a car)
 

Grump

New member
This is in the documents that you get with your license in FL.

Q. When can I use my handgun to protect myself?

A. Florida law justifies use of deadly force when you are:

Trying to protect yourself or another person from death or serious bodily harm;
Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.

I added the emphasis on burglary.
 

Tucker's Mom

New member
Florida is the same, but I have a question.. If you are outside your home, and you discover someone is in your house, do you go in after them, or call 911 and be a good witness (same senario, under castle doctrine, but your home instead of a car)
With my small stature, I know I can easily be overpowered by a person bigger (or younger) than I am. That is why I have a gun. Outside of my house, knowing that someone is inside going through my property, because of the way our subdivision is set up here, if no one is home in our house, my husband and I would have gotten a call from some (or a) neighbour that someone is inside our house and that they had called the police -- way before I get home. In my car it will be a different matter altogether. It will depend on whether I am alone going to my car or I have someone with me...which is almost always, I have someone with me when I go out. Besides wherever I go shopping, my dog will be left in my car. If I leave my dog home to go somewhere, I will never hear the end of it for the rest of my natural life. My dog, my wallet, camera, cellphone and my gun -- automatically goes with me when I go out of the house...even in my fenced backyard.

I know what you are getting at and I am yapping my head off here...what if the scenerio is different and I jumped in my car, sans my dog, to go for a quick run to the supermarket? Then saw my car being rummaged by an idiot who dared? -- I will stand a bit far away, after a quick ocular inspection, call 911 and wait -- because I am not as robust as a man or a younger woman. So it depends. IF a gun is pointed in my (or mine) direction, I have to duty to protect me (and mine) and will shoot to stop a threat.

And oh btw, kudos for Florida -- it sure is nice to see a state with a brain for a change. Florida is the first state requiring drug testing to receive welfare!
 

Tucker's Mom

New member
This is in the documents that you get with your license in FL.

Q. When can I use my handgun to protect myself?

A. Florida law justifies use of deadly force when you are:

Trying to protect yourself or another person from death or serious bodily harm;
Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.

I added the emphasis on burglary.
Above is your answer HootmonSccy. Need I say more? Many thanks Grump.
 

HootmonSccy

New member
Above is your answer HootmonSccy. Need I say more? Many thanks Grump.
Gramps - As Phillip Gain said in his post, Are you really going to risk your life over "Stuff"??
Go on Gramps, go get 'em!!
TM - As you said in your post about the car.. Stand back and call 911.
I think being a good witness is my call on this situation.. Hyper-ready to defend yourself.

I'll defend my life or the life of those I love, but my life is worth more than the cost of my TV..
 

kelcarry

New member
Hey Orlando: I think you got your answer--it is a state by state thing. As much as any of us would like nothing better than to "teach someone a lesson" when it comes to stealing your stuff, it is not imminent danger to your life or bodily injury, which still remains the numero uno reason for drawing a firearm and discharging same. The only exclusions that I am aware of would be where forcible entry into your home or car while you are there initiates Castle Doctrine and the presumption that your are in imminent danger and you can then use your firearm--I believe you must be in your car (ala hijack scenario). It is a shame though that stealing when you are not around is probably a no no in most states for presenting and using a firearm after the fact--it is brandishing and, if you had escalated the situation to the point where you now needed your firearm, the possiblity of manslaughter or civil problems (the thief was not threatening you until you threatened him even if he was committing the crime).
Here in SC, we have a law on the books that if your situation happened AT NIGHT (the law is specific to only at night), you could have gone over to him and effected a citizen's arrest telling him to stand still, the LEOs are coming. If he should decide to run away and evade your arrest YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO SHOOT HIM AND KILL HIM. It is the law--it may be an old law dating back to Civil War times and probably has a hint of race in it, but it is the law and has been upheld in cases where shots were fired after a thief.
 

joemendoza

New member
This is in the documents that you get with your license in FL.

Q. When can I use my handgun to protect myself?

A. Florida law justifies use of deadly force when you are:

Trying to protect yourself or another person from death or serious bodily harm;
Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.

I added the emphasis on burglary.

Just make sure that a car theft is considered a burglary in Florida. Maybe it is, if a car is considered part of your home there. But burglary is different from theft.
 

MYGLOCK

New member
Did everyone forget the knife in this story? This went from attempted burglary to assault with a deadly weapon. It doesn't matter what the BG was burglarizing, the idiot brought a knife to hopefully a gun fight. I would not have drawn my firearm until he pulled the knife and would have shot him as soon as I lined up the sights.

Technically you burglarized his truck when you took his duffel bag…..I’m just saying.
 

Dragonbreath

New member
In Florida, you have to be preventing death or serious bodily harm, or a FORCIBLE felony (which the cops usually interpret as an ARMED felon - knife, gun, baseball bat etc.). In Forida you are NOT justified in protecting the STUFF in your car, but your ARE justified in protecting the PEOPLE in your car if someone tries to break in to get to them (when you're inside). When you're outside the car and the BG is inside and stealing your stuff (or even stealing the whole car), but the BG is not offering a clear and present threat of physical force against you or others (brandishing a gun or knife, etc.), then in Florida law, you are NOT justified in drawing your weapon or even exposing it to view, and you can be charged with brandishing the weapon if you do so.
 

Black Dragon

New member
Dragonbreath is correct

This is in the documents that you get with your license in FL.

Q. When can I use my handgun to protect myself?

A. Florida law justifies use of deadly force when you are:

Trying to protect yourself or another person from death or serious bodily harm;
Trying to prevent a forcible felony, such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.

I added the emphasis on burglary.
You should have added the emphasis on "Forcible".

In FL Castle Doctrine does extend to your vehicle but only if you, or someone, is in the vehicle during a forcible felony. If the person brandishes a weapon while committing a burglary then you can be justified in using force to prevent the burglary. If you walk up to someone already in your car then you can not use deadly force unless you are in fear for your life.

When you pulled the duffel bag out of his vehicle you were technically stealing from him because for all you knew it was his stuff (It may later be found to be stolen but at the time you didn't know this).
He could not use deadly force (pulling a knife) on you to get his stuff back because you weren't using force to steal the duffel bag.
Now lets say he pulled a knife on you for stealing his stuff and you then pulled the gun. It can be argued that you were stealing his stuff and have instigated his reaction and you can be held liable for that action.
You may have gotten off on the charges but you would probably have been arrested and you would have to go through some trouble, and money, to clear yourself.

All it all I'm glad it turned out good for you.

I'm not a lawyer so take it for what it's worth.
 

festus

God Bless Our Troops!!!
Florida

Under Florida State Statutes, "burglary" occurs when a person "enter a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter.[17] Depending on the circumstances of the crime, burglary can be classified as third-, second-, or first-degree felonies, with maximum sentences of five years, fifteen years, and life, respectively.[18]

The 2011 Florida Statutes

Title XLVI
CRIMES

Chapter 776
JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

View Entire Chapter
776.031 Use of force in defense of others.—A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
History.—s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1189, ch. 97-102; s. 3, ch. 2005-27.

The 2011 Florida Statutes

Title XLVI
CRIMES

Chapter 776
JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

View Entire Chapter
776.08 Forcible felony.—“Forcible felony” means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.
History.—s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 4, ch. 75-298; s. 289, ch. 79-400; s. 5, ch. 93-212; s. 10, ch. 95-195.
 

kelcarry

New member
Certainly we all preface our comments with the fact that we are not lawyers, which is a given when asking for this kind of advice. Having said that, as some in TX have said, the law is clear on protecting property. In SC, at night (and the law is specific to night only--why?--who knows?), you can effect a citizen's arrest in a situation, as described (again, only at night,) and it is crystal clear that you can use any means available including shooting and killing the suspect, if he attempts to evade you citizen's arrest. Certainly, if someone is in the car it is forcible entry into an occupied vehicle in SC and is covered under Castle Doctrine; you, or anyone else in the car (even a baby) under the Alter Ego rule, can presume imminent danger of death or great bodily injury and discharge your firearm. Personally, as Mr Gain said, IMO, stuff that in my case is insured, is not worth my tangling with anyone who may be better at this "gun thing" than me and I am not replaceable--this goes for my car and my home when I am not directly in contact with the BG. In my home, for example, I lock our bedroom door at night--if someone breaks into my home in a different area of house, I will activate car alarm, call 911, and stay in my bedroom--if the BG decides to defeat my locked door, he has now called into play imminent danger and pure Castle Doctrine, IMO, and it will then be the last thing he ever does, but the insured stuff in the other rooms--it is not worth my life. I should preface the "home comments" by saying it is just my wife and I and no childen or others living in other parts of the house--that is whole other story.
 

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