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A Successful Stand Your Ground Law Claim in Florida

We have discussed the Florida Stand Your Ground law in Florida many times on this website. Basically, it allows someone to use force to protect himself or another from someone he/she reasonably believes is about to use force against him/her or another. It also allows a person charged with a violent crime to file a motion with the judge to have the case dismissed rather than go to a jury trial where a jury would normally evaluate a self defense claim.

A recent criminal case south of Jacksonville, Florida illustrates a successful Stand Your Ground law claim. In this case, the defendant was charged with aggravated battery after punching the victim. In this case, the victim and defendant were friends. The defendant and his witnesses, who were also friends of both parties, testified that the victim was known to be very aggressive and violent towards others, particularly when he was drinking. On the night of the incident, the friends went out to a club and the victim started drinking. At the end of the night, the defendant and the victim got into an argument, and the victim was yelling profanities at the defendant and walking towards him in an aggressive manner. The defendant backed up in response. When the defendant backed up close to a wall, he punched the victim and knocked him down. The witnesses testified that the victim was the aggressor and the defendant initially tried to avoid the conflict.

For some reason, on these facts, the state charged the defendant with a serious felony offense- aggravated battery. However, the criminal defense lawyer filed a motion to dismiss based on the Stand Your Ground law immunity. The judge agreed and threw the case out. Because the defendant used force in a situation where he reasonably believed the “victim” was about to use force against him, based on the victim’s actions, intoxication and history of violence, the defendant was entitled to stand his ground and have the charges dismissed.