Clearwater Homicide Defense Attorneys
Strong Legal Representation to Protect Your Rights
When you’re accused of a crime like murder, the criminal justice system is a frightening place. You could face a long prison sentence or even the death penalty for the most serious of charges. If you’ve been arrested on suspicion of committing homicide, speak with a skilled Clearwater criminal defense lawyer at Bauer Crider Kenny & Parry, a widely respected law firm based in Florida. We’ve served clients throughout the Pasco, Pinellas, and Hillsborough County regions since 1989, fighting diligently for their rights in and out of court. When you work with us, you have access to some of the most respected trial lawyers in Florida.
Different Degrees of Murder & Manslaughter Charges
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. This is the most serious type of homicide charge. It encompasses premeditated killings, felony murders and 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. Second-degree murder is committed without premeditation. Its conviction does not necessarily require proof that the offender had intent to kill, 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 cases, the state may request a life sentence, especially if the defendant has a prior record of other felony convictions or homicides.
- Manslaughter. 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 & Self-Defense Issues
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.
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.
With four convenient location to serve Clearwater, Tampa, St. Pete, and Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough Counties, the team at Bauer Crider Kenny & Parry can help with all of your criminal defense needs.