Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta to do, and the law in Florida respects that. That is why the Florida Stand Your Ground law was created. Florida recognizes that sometimes people are put in an uncomfortable position where the persons only escape from the uncomfortable position is to use force.
What is the Florida Stand Your Ground Law?
The Florida Stand Your Ground Statute holds that a person is generally “immune from criminal prosecution and civil action” when that person justifiably uses or threatens to use force under certain circumstances. § 776.032(1), Fla. Stat. (2017); see ch. 2005-27, Laws of Fla. The criminal immunity “includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.” § 776.032(1), Fla. Stat. In Dennis v. State, the Florida Supreme Court held that a motion to dismiss asserting immunity under section 776.032 “should be treated as a motion filed pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(b)” and that the trial court should conduct a pretrial evidentiary hearing and “decide the factual question of the applicability of the statutory immunity.” 51 So. 3d 456, 464 (Fla. 2010).
Although much of the Stand Your Law Statute has remained intact after this new amendment, there has been a significant change in the law regarding how evidentiary hearings shall be conducted. The third district court of appeal certified a conflict with the second district court of appeal regarding whether the 2017 amendment to the Stand Your Ground Statute was procedural or substantive and whether the statute applied retroactively. After the much-awaited Florida Supreme Court decision, we finally have an answer.
In Love v. State, 286 So. 3d 177 (Fla. 2019) the Court held that the change to the stand your ground statute was deemed a procedural change. The Florida Supreme Court further held that all pending motion to dismiss under this statute should operate under the new procedures regardless of the date of incident.
What This Change Means?
What this means is even if the incident you are charged with occurred before the changes to the statute, as long as the case is still pending, if there is a stand your ground hearing in Florida, it should proceed under the new procedures prescribed by the amended statute. The 2017 amendment to section 776.032 provides: In a criminal prosecution, once a prima facie claim of self-defense immunity from criminal prosecution has been raised by the defendant at a pretrial immunity hearing, the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence is on the party seeking to overcome the immunity from criminal prosecution provided in subsection. A prima facie claim of self defense immunity is satisfied upon the filing of the motion.
Therefore, after a stand your ground motion is filed, the defense should argue that it is the state’s burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that accused did not act in self-defense. Although this standard is less than the standard that the state is required to prove at a jury trial, it is still a very high standard of proof that the state must meet.
Hiring the Right Criminal Defense Law Firm in Florida Can Make All the Difference
It is important to have the right team behind you if you are charged with a crime and believe that you acted in self-defense. A Florida stand your ground hearing requires the state to present evidence to the judge to meet their burden of proof. It is important that your legal team is able to challenge this evidence and show the judge the weakness of the state’s case.
To schedule a free consultation with out Florida criminal defense law firm, fill out this contact form or give us a call at (954) 861-0384 now.