Can the Stand Your Ground law apply to misdemeanor cases?
Stand Your Ground protects the use of lethal force when you are attacked in a place outside of your home where you have a legal right to be. It also protects the use of non-lethal force under the same circumstances.
Misdemeanors, such as battery and assault, can employ Stand Your Ground protection when the battery (touching) or assault (threat of touching) is used against an assailant who attacks or threatens to attack.
If you are attacked and you throw a punch in defense, such a punch is defensible under Stand Your Ground. Stand Your Ground is not a trial defense - despite incorrect public opinion. Stand Your Ground is raised by motion before trial. Since Stand Your Ground is an immunity, not a defense, a judge must hold a hearing whereby they must decide whether the accused is immune from criminal prosecution due to the use of force.
If you are charged with assault or battery, you may want to discuss with a criminal defense attorney the possibility of filing a Stand Your Ground motion if the facts of your case apply.
In many domestic violence situations, Stand Your Ground may be applicable if you are defending yourself against an abusive spouse or significant other yet you are the one who ends up getting arrested.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.