FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — When a teenager attempted to break into a vehicle in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he was shot for his trouble.
He received non-life-threatening injuries, but the question we have here is this: was the man who confronted the teenager justified in shooting him for trying to break into his car?
Lets take a look at what we know, as provided by CBS Miami:
- At around 5:19 in the morning December 12, a teen was discovered attempting to break into a car in front of a duplex.
- The car was not occupied at the time.
- One of the residents of that duplex, who is reportedly ex-military, confronted the teen and shot him.
- The teen was hospitalized for his injuries.
That’s all well and good, but here’s the catch: Under Florida castle law, this shooting’s legality is a little hazy.
According to Online Sunshine, Florida’s castle law reads, in part, like this:
A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using or threatening to use defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
The person against whom the defensive force was used or threatened was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle.
The operative word, of course, is “occupied.”
Funnily enough, the law also defines a vehicle as a conveyance meant to transport people or property of any kind, motorized or not — in other words, if some guy decides he wants to yank you from your bicycle as you’re making your way down the street, that guy is now subject to castle law.
Although it’s difficult to say that I wouldn’t react in the same way this resident did to his car being broken into, under castle law, he’s in some murky water.
That doesn’t mean the shooting wasn’t justified under some other law: the kid could have been armed, or maybe he chose to charge the man who confronted him. For us, the point is just this:
Know your state’s castle law, and every other law that has to do with defending yourself and your family. Your should be an expert by the time you pull the trigger, should that day ever come.
There’s more than one way to stay safe out there, folks.
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