Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is based on a basic belief that homeowners have a right to defend their home, person, and family from people who come into their residence with violent intentions. It is what’s referred to as the “castle doctrine” from the English idea that every man’s home is his castle, and that he can defend it.
Expanding the Stand Your Ground Law
Florida expanded the Stand Your Ground law in 2005 to say that you could defend yourself and others even when you weren’t in your home. The Stand Your Ground law stipulates that people can use deadly force anywhere, and that they aren’t required to run away from the threat. The law says that you have to believe that using such force was unavoidable to prevent death or serious bodily injury to oneself or someone else. Call our office now to speak with one of our criminal lawyers in Miami if you have any questions.
With this law, if someone is charged with murder or manslaughter, their defense may rest on the principle that they were legally allowed to do so because of the Stand Your Ground law. If that happens, the following would take place:
- The defense would file a motion telling the judge that you were justified because of the Stand Your Ground law.
- A pre-trial hearing would take place and the defendant would be required to prove that they acted according to the law.
- The judge decides on the motion.
- If the judge determined that the defendant’s actions were justified, they would dismiss the case.
- If the judge decided that the defendant wasn’t in the right, they would move it forward to a jury trial. The defendant could still argue for self-defense at the trial.
Understanding the Burden of Proof
Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed a law that shifted the burden of proof to the prosecutor. The State Attorney’s Office has to prove that the defendant wasn’t right to use a Stand Your Ground defense, based on clear and compelling evidence. This is a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt, but it is still tough. This is a new modification that makes the Stand Your Ground law stronger to the benefit of the defense. Our solid Miami criminal defense attorney is going to know exactly how to present your case in the best possible light.
Individual Liberty is Protected
While some people argue that the shift is unfair, for the outcome of criminal cases it is good to strengthen the rights of the defendant. We all have due process rights as Americans, and our liberty cannot be taken away without it.
We have a government that says defendants are innocent until proven guilty, and when a prosecutor charges someone with a crime, they have to shoulder the burden to prove guilt. Just because you claim self-defense, it shouldn’t shift the burden of proof to the defendant. A skilled Miami criminal attorney is well worth the cost in your time and freedom. The recent modification to the Stand Your Ground law just affirms that it is the government’s responsibility to prove guilt.
If you’ve been charged with murder or manslaughter and are claiming a Stand Your Ground defense, it’s smart to get in touch with criminal lawyers in Miami who know the system. The Miami criminal defense lawyers of Pagan & Stroleny, P.L. will help you come up with a powerful defense. Not every Miami criminal defense lawyer is the same.
We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Criminal Lawyers In Miami.