Stand Your Ground Law
Trayvon Martin's death made Florida's Stand Your Ground law known in households across America. Under the Stand Your Ground law, you do not have a duty to retreat as you would under common law when being attacked. The law provides justification if you use force against another person in certain locations such as your home under certain circumstances. People who use force but are covered by the Stand Your Ground law may be immune from prosecution. Therefore, it is crucial to consult an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney if you are charged with a crime involving the Stand Your Ground law.Stand Your Ground
Florida Statute section 776.012 provides that you are justified in threatening or using force against another person, but only if you reasonably think that force is necessary to guard yourself against the immediate use of unlawful force by that person. You are not required to back away or otherwise retreat before threatening or using force. In fact, the law considers you justified in threatening or using deadly force if you reasonably think that using force is necessary to prevent immediate great bodily harm or death arising out of a forcible felony perpetrated against yourself or someone else.
Suppose for example, that you hit someone with your son's baseball bat to keep a burglar from beating up your elderly father and you caused traumatic brain injury to the burglar. In that case, the prosecutor might want to charge you with aggravated battery. In that situation, you may not have a duty to retreat, since you have a right to be in your home and the act was in defense of another who was subject to a forcible felony. In this situation, you might be able to use the Stand Your Ground defense to obtain an acquittal or dismissal.
There is a presumption that you had a reasonable fear of immediate danger of death or great bodily harm if the person you were defending yourself against was in the act of forcibly or illegally entering into your home, dwelling, or occupied vehicle. This presumption also applies when someone is trying to remove himself from one or more places, and you knew or had reason to know a forceful illegal entry had occurred or was underway.
You cannot use the presumption if the person against whom you are using or threatening force is entitled to stay in or be a legal resident of a dwelling or residence, or is a titleholder, owner, or lessee of the car. However, if there's an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a no contact order that stops entry or contact, the presumption is still applicable. You won't be covered by the presumption if the people that are taken out of the residence or car are under the guardianship or in the legal custody of someone against whom you've threatened defensive force. The presumption would also be inapplicable if you are burglarizing or otherwise using the home, dwelling or occupied car to advance crime.
The law was recently amended so that prosecutors now bear the burden of proof to provide clear and convincing evidence that a defendant is not acting in self-defense under certain circumstances. This is a shift from an earlier time when the defense needed to show it was more likely than not there was self-defense. This area of law is evolving and it's important to consult an attorney if you think it applies to your case.Consult a Tough Criminal Defense Attorney Serving the Miami Area
If you have been accused of a violent crime and think it might be appropriate to raise a defense under the Stand Your Ground Law in Miami, you should be sure to seek experienced legal representation. Criminal defense lawyer Evan Hoffman looks closely at the circumstances of his clients’ cases to develop the strongest possible defense strategy under the facts of each situation. He provides tough, knowledgeable representation to those accused of many types of crimes in Miami, as well as North Miami, Aventura, Key Biscayne, and Miami Beach. Contact The Hoffman Firm at (305) 249-0090 or via our online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.