Self Defense has been an available affirmative defense to criminal cases since the dawn of society. Florida also has long acknowledged the fundamental right to use force in defense of self or others. The essential elements of self-defense have stayed about the same. A person may use deadly force when it is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to the person or to another person. The procedure and burden of proof required to make a self-defense argument has changed.
Yesterday I posted a blog regarding celebrity battery, today another celebrity, Alec Baldwin, provides the launching point for this blog about disorderly conduct and resisting. Mr. Baldwin was arrested in New York for disorderly conduct, even though, according to the article I read, he claims it was for violating a traffic control device. Perhaps a creative prosecutor could also find grounds to charge Resisting an Officer Without Violence or Obstruction of Justice although I am not advocating for those charges.
Recently there have been two major news reports of sex crimes here in North Central Florida. A teacher in Marion County was arrested after disappearing with a student. In addition a Bradford County corrections officer was arrested and could be facing the death penalty.
Words mean things. In Florida criminal law the words "assault" and "battery" have completely different meanings. Both are criminal. Many times, in movies or television, the word assault and the words "assault and battery" are used to describe what is actually a battery in Florida. In essence, an assault is a credible threat and a battery is an unlicensed touching.
Effective today, July 1, 2013 is a new law on drug paraphernalia. Typically a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia accompanies a charge of possession of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine or prescription drugs. This new law criminalizes the retail sale of drug paraphernalia.
As a practicing criminal defense lawyer it is never a dull day. Everyday new fact patterns arise such that you are much less subject to being surprised. An article in the Gainesville Sun brought my attention to a criminal law that I have never seen applied in such a fashion.