Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is It Really Self Defense?

Historically self-defense has always been a hot topic in the law. The topic regained popularity in Florida in April 2005 when then Governor Jeb Bush signed into law FLA. STAT. § 776.013 entitled Immunity From Criminal Prosecution and Civil Action For Justifiable Use of Force or more commonly known as the “Stand Your Ground Law”.  The Stand Your Ground law means that a person who uses self-defense as permitted in FLA. STAT. § 776.012 and § 776.013 will be immune from criminal prosecution and civil action. What does that mean for you? It means that if you use self- defense you will not be charged criminally and you cannot be sued civilly such as the victim in this St. Petersburg Times article. But what if you have already been charged with a crime where you feel you acted in self-defense? There are two options: you can file a pre-trial motion asserting the Stand Your Ground Law and ask the Court to grant you immunity or you assert the defense of self defense at trial. Have you or someone you know been charged criminally for acting in self-defense? Give us a call to discuss your options.