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.
In criminal cases alleging the use of force a defendant may seek immunity from prosecution. Today, this is called Stand Your Ground, but it has always been true that self-defense is a viable defense to any use of force case. A person seeking immunity has the burden to put forth evidence that the use of force alleged was reasonable against another's imminent use of unlawful force.
In criminal and traffic defense, a common complaint from an accused individual or their family is that the arrest affidavit, arrest report, accident report or citation contains one or more errors. For example, if there is a DUI accusation with a child in the car but the officer marks on the DUI citation that there were no passengers under the age of 18 or marking "no injury" on a traffic ticket in a case involving a near fatality. (actual examples). The ugly truth is that the police, deputies and troopers filling out these documents are people too, and they make mistakes. Unfotunately, typographical or similar errors will usually not lead to a case being dismissed.
Domestic violence has made a lot of headlines recently and by now most of us have seen the ads the NFL felt compelled to bombard us with. My office defends those accused of the criminal charge of domestic violence but we also represent victims seeking injunctions and proceeding with divorce or dissolution of marriage.
Battery is a criminal offense that reaches all levels of society, as proven by the recent encounter between Jay-Z and Solange, his sister-in-law, in the elevator at the Standard Hotel. While the description of the video on TMZ refers to this wild kicking and swinging as an assault, Solange's actions are called battery in Florida. For more on the difference between assault and battery, see my blog Assault and Battery - Very Different Meanings in Florida Criminal Law. Fortunately for Jay-Z, this video captured the altercation, otherwise he could be painted as the aggressor and could easily be the defendant instead of the victim.