Monday, May 14, 2012

Florida Stand Your Ground Law Under Review

Tampa Bay Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses recent scrutiny over the Florida Stand Your Ground law.


Stand Your Ground laws are also known as Justifiable Use of Force laws.  The Florida Stand Your Ground law has been in effect since 2005, and has been used as a successful criminal defense in cases where self defense is utilized to justify the use of deadly force.  The law’s invocation as a defense in several recent high profile cases, including the Trayvon Martin case, has caused Governor Rick Scott to convene a statewide task force to review the Stand Your Ground Law.
Florida Stand Your Ground Law

Why This Matters To You:

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is under tremendous pressure as the application of the law has been called into question in several high profile cases.  While the Stand Your Ground law is often invoked in cases of shootings that result in death, the law has also been used by defendants in domestic violence cases, and battery cases where the victim suffered non-lethal injuries.  Since a Supreme Court ruling in 2010, trial judges must hold a hearing any time a defendant asks for it and then give a ruling based on the “preponderance of the evidence” that there was a justifiable use of force.

Now, the governor’s task force is reviewing the law to ensure its application is appropriate.  Additionally, state senator Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale) is seeking to revise the law to potentially make the self-defense claim less available to defendants.  Smith’s proposal includes utilizing a grand jury to decide whether or not to bring charges in cases of self-defense.

What To Do Next:

If you have been charged with battery or aggravated battery in the Tampa Bay area, contact the Morris Law Firm, a St. Petersburg based Criminal Defense Law Firm to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss your case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form (found on our main web site) to be contacted for a free initial consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help.  Attorney Melinda Morris has specific knowledge and experience in representing alleged felony offenders throughout the entire Tampa Bay, FL area, including Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.