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How Can I Lose The “Presumption of Reasonableness” Under Florida’s Castle Doctrine

By David S. Katz

We previously discussed the “Castle Doctrine” in Florida and the protections it offers. (visit:  However, you can lose the valuable protections the Castle Doctrine gives.  Read on to learn more.

There are a few ways that a person can lose “Castle Doctrine” protection and the presumption of reasonableness regarding their actions. The first is if the person against whom the force was used had the right to be in, or was a lawful resident of, the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, and there was not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person. For example, spouses that both have a right to live in the marital home and have no injunctions against them, titleholders to vehicles, owners of property, or lease holders.

Another way “Castle Doctrine” protection can be lost is if a child’s guardian is attempting to remove their child, grandchild, or a person otherwise in their lawful custody or guardianship. So, if a child’s lawful guardian is attempting to remove them from a dwelling or residence, you will not be presumed to be reasonable should you defend the child under the auspices of the “Castle Doctrine.”

If you are engaged in an unlawful activity or are using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity, you lose the presumption of reasonableness provided by the “Castle Doctrine.” Even though you are in your vehicle, if a police officer attempts to remove you after your attempted bank robbery get-away, you will not receive “Castle Doctrine” protection!

You cannot use the “Castle Doctrine” if the person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law, or you knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer. What is a Law Enforcement Officer? Florida Statute §943.10(14) defines an Officer as, “any person employed or appointed as a full-time, part time, or auxiliary law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or correctional probation officer.”


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