Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws have been controversial in recent years, especially in Florida. High profile cases have overshadowed the common popularity of SYG laws. In 2013, Florida Governor Rick Scott convened the Task Force on Citizens Safety and Protection to review public perception of Stand Your Ground.
The Task Force found that many people believe that when those who are conducting themselves in a lawful manner are attacked, they have a right to defend themselves and to stand their ground. So, while the law is controversial, many people still believe in the principle behind it.
The fundamental reasoning for Stand Your Ground would be reinforced if Senate Bill 128 (SB 128) passed. SB 128 was created in response to the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling in Bretherick v. State, 170 So.3d 766 (Fla. 2015), where the Court ruled on the burden of proof in pretrial evidentiary hearings for SYG immunity.
In Bretherick, the Court held that the burden of proof was on the defendant to assert that he or she was entitled to immunity, and the standard of proof was by a preponderance of the evidence.
Some members of the Florida Legislature reject the majority’s opinion and have proposed that the burden of proof be on the State to show that a defendant is not entitled to immunity and the standard of review should be beyond a reasonable doubt.
If CS/SB 128 passes, it will substantially change how Stand Your Ground is implemented. Moreover, Florida will be the only State that handles SYG in this manner procedurally. Out of the other 22 states that have SYG laws, only four have laws on the procedure of asserting SYG. None of those states have placed the burden of proof on the state to disprove immunity.
Find an Attorney for Stand Your Ground in Miami, Florida
SB 128 could have very interesting implications on the outcome of self-defense cases where the defendant asserts immunity. Understanding self-defense is imperative. If you believe that you may be entitled to immunity under self-defense, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney to see how SB 128 might affect you.
Call (305) 249-0090 for a consultation with criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman for more information about SYG. Attorney Hoffman takes cases in Miami-Dade County and surrounding areas of Miami, Florida.