Florida Changes Burden of Proof on Self-Defense Immunity

I see from Miguel Gonzalez’ excellent blog, Gun Free Zone, that Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed into law the legislation recently passed changing the burden of persuasion on self-defense immunity.

In effect, instead of the claimant (defender) having to now prove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence (typically at a pre-trial hearing) in order to secure criminal and civil immunity for his use of defensive force, now once the claimant has made a prima facie claim of self-defense the burden is on the State to disprove the claim by clear and convincing evidence, or immunity attaches.

“Clear and convincing evidence” can be thought of as more than a preponderance of the evidence, but less than beyond a reasonable doubt.

The law change takes effective immediately.

The relevant statute, CS/SB 128, can be found here.

About the Author

Andrew Branca
Andrew F. Branca is a Massachusetts lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense website (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), and many other re-sellers. Andrew just launched his latest product, the LOSD Instructor Program, designed for gun safety, marksmanship and tactical strategy instructors. Be an elite member of the self defense community, understanding your state's self defense laws to a depth even lawyers rarely achieve. Check it out here.   Andrew also gives live, in-person, ~5 hour-long state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars all over the country. Click here to find a live seminar covering your state's self-defense laws.   Andrew also produces many 4-5 hour online, on-demand state-specific Law of Self Defense training courses. These online classes are enriched versions of the live, in-person state-specific Law of Self Defense Class Andrew gives all around the country. Click here to find an online course for your state. These online classes are priced at $249/HOUSEHOLD. You can learn more details and view the first section of the training class for free (about 30 minutes worth of self-defense law training) by clicking here.

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