Though the Stand Your Ground law was enacted a few years ago, the burden of proof had never been ultimately decided by the Florida Supreme Court. The procedure in a Motion to Dismiss based upon immunity had been established.
Some criminal defense attorneys had argued that placing any burden on a defendant is unconstiutional. However, In a case published July 9, 2015, the Florida Supreme Court decided against those criminal defense lawyers. The Court held that at a pretrial evidentiary hearing on a defendant’s motion to dismiss claiming statutory immunity from prosecution under the Stand Your Ground law, that the defendant bears the burden of proof. The burden of proof to demonstrate immunity is now clearly on a criminal defendant and by a preponderance of evidence.
Many people equate Stand Your Ground with the use of firearms in self-defense. However, the law and the immunity it grants may be used in almost any criminal case where the defense is based upon self-defense. Each case is different and depends on its specific facts. That is why the Court must hold a hearing to weigh the facts of the case.
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Florida Supreme Court’s Opinion