Florida Governor Rick Scott strikes again! Governor Scott has signed a new law granting Floridians who fire a warning shot or threaten to use a gun the ability to avoid criminal prosecution. An experienced Florida criminal defense attorney can help you understand this law and how it affects you.
The law known as the “warning shot” bill was motivated by the case of Marissa Alexander. Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison after having fired a shot near her estranged husband during a dispute, which took place in Jacksonville, Florida. Although Alexander asserted that she fired the shot in self-defense, the judge did not allow her to employ the “stand your ground” self defense law. The judge’s rejection of Alexander’s self-defense claim was surprising since the “stand your ground” law was implemented to grant individuals the ability to use force in circumstances where they reasonably believe their life is in danger.
Alexander’s case was brought on appeal and the verdict was subsequently thrown out. Alexander is awaiting a new trial and her attorneys have asked the new judge to consider and apply the new “warning shot” law.
The “warning shot” law would permit individuals to threaten to use force without succumbing to the harsh “10-20-life” Florida law, which was established in 1999. The “10-20-life” law mandates that any individual who shows a gun while committing specific felonies be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Additionally, this same law mandates that if anyone is shot and wounded, the sentence be increased to 25 years to life.
This new “warning shot” law is the most recent change to Florida’s self defense laws and is, without a doubt, a considerable change.
If you have any questions regarding the new “warning shot” bill, contact experienced Miami criminal defense attorneys, Christopher Pagan and Julian Stroleny at Pagan & Stroleny, P.L.