The Senate has approved a bill amending Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which if signed by Gov. Rick Scott will shift the burden of proof in pre-trial evidentiary proceedings from the defense to the prosecution. “Stand Your Ground” is one of the most controversial Florida gun laws, justifies the use of deadly force for self-defense without the obligation to retreat. However, controversial or not, it remains the right of all owners of legally obtained firearms in the state to utilize their gun as a protective measure.
Miami gun law attorneys can help gun owners understand their rights, particularly in light of this upcoming change. Here is how the bill will impact future cases in Florida where the “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law applies.
About the Bill
Senate Bill 128 was drafted as a means of protecting the rights of defendants, as the “Stand Your Ground” defense is notoriously difficult to apply without going to trial. If signed by Scott, it will go into effect immediately and require that the prosecution provide “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant was not acting in self-defense. As it stands now, the burden rests on the defendant to demonstrate the situation’s need for deadly force. Initially, the Senate sought to change the language used in the House’s proposal to require prosecutors to prove the act was not an act of self-defense “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, the bill was ultimately passed as-is with a 22-14 vote.
In addition to this bill, the Senate also passed SB 1052, which expands upon when use of force is justified. However, the changes are overall insignificant and will not change how the law is applied.
If you have questions about the proposed change to “Stand Your Ground” or are in need of legal guidance regarding your Florida gun laws, our Miami gun law attorneys offer free consultations. Call our office today to schedule yours!