Protecting Your Rights When You Need A Homicide Lawyer
When you’re accused of a crime like murder, the criminal justice system is a frightening place. You could face a lengthy prison sentence or even the death penalty for what is considered the most severe of all crimes. If you have been arrested on suspicion of homicide and are facing murder or manslaughter charges our firm, Bauer, Crider, Kindel and Parry, is widely respected, serving clients throughout Pasco County since 1989.
What Are The Different Degrees Of Murder And Manslaughter Charges In Florida?
Homicide is the unlawful killing of another human being and includes different types of murder and manslaughter under Florida law. Punishments for homicide vary depending on the crime’s type and severity.
First-Degree Murder Charges In Florida
This is the most serious type of homicide charge. First-degree murder charges include:
- Premeditated killings
- Felony murder
- Murders committed during some types of drug-dealing offenses
First-degree murder is considered a capital felony in the state of Florida, which allows prosecutors to pursue the death penalty. If the death penalty is not granted, the state requires a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Second-Degree Murder In Florida
Second-degree murder is committed without premeditation. Its conviction does not necessarily require proof that the offender had the intent to kill the victim, but it does require the prosecutor to show that the defendant engaged in a violent crime without regard for human life.
This is a first-degree felony and can result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years. In some homicide cases, the state may request a life sentence, especially if the defendant has a prior record of other felony convictions or homicides.
Manslaughter Charges In Florida
Manslaughter occurs when a person is killed without premeditation, deliberation or malice, and it may be either voluntary or involuntary. The most common type of voluntary manslaughter is a crime of passion, in which the defendant is provoked.
Involuntary manslaughter results from not using care or skill when carrying out a lawful act. A common type of involuntary manslaughter is vehicular manslaughter, which is often caused by reckless driving. This is punishable as either a first- or second-degree felony, carrying up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Homicide And Self-Defense Arguments
Some homicides are regarded as justifiable or excusable, particularly when deemed to be a necessary act of self-defense. For example, in states such as Florida where Stand Your Ground laws have been adopted, individuals who are in fear of their own lives may use lethal force against another person out of self-defense.
In the recent case of Trayvon Martin’s shooting, the shooter, George Zimmerman, claimed he feared for his life and shot Martin in self-defense. Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder charges in July 2013 after his defense attorney argued that Stand Your Ground was applicable to the situation.