The Florida legislation is considering a shift in how a self-defense claim plays out in a courtroom; more commonly known as the “Stand Your Ground” law. Under the current law in Florida, a Defendant bears the burden in proving to the court immunity from prosecution under this provision. SB344 will shift the burden to the prosecution to prove a person is not entitled to immunity under the “Stand Your Ground” law.

Stand Your Ground Law in Texas

The change in Florida law is the current state of the law in Texas. Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code governs the “Stand Your Ground” law or “Castle Doctrine”. Section 9.31 states that a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree, the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.

The Penal Code further provides there is no duty on the person charged to retreat when that person has a right to be present at that location, has not provoked the person, and not involved in any criminal activity. The theory behind the law is the inherent right to be safe in one’s vehicle or home.

You have a right to protect yourself from those wishing to do harm to you. Unlike an affirmative defense, the use of self-defense in a Texas courtroom favors the accused. Once the evidence supports a claim of self-defense or an application of the “Castle Doctrine” the burden of persuasion remains with the State. In other words, if self-defense is raised, the State of Texas has the burden of proving the accused did not act under self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

The change in Florida will place the burden on the prosecution as it should be in any criminal case.

If you or a loved one has been charged with any criminal offense, including domestic violence, assault, firearm offense, and more,  it is important to consult an experienced Tarrant County defense attorney.

Tarrant County Criminal Defense Attorneys

The team of attorneys at Tarrant County based Gebhardt and Eppes, PLLC are former state prosecutors. They possess the skill and experience to build the strongest self-defense case on your behalf. Contact Gebhardt and Eppes, PLLC at (817) 502-3600 for a free initial consultation.

Gebhardt and Eppes, PLLC strongly defend individuals throughout the greater Fort Worth area, including Arlington, Weatherford, Cleburne, and many surrounding communities.