According to Florida law, homicide, or the killing of a human being, includes various degrees/varieties of murder and manslaughter. The classification of the homicide influences both the prosecutor's needs and the potential sentence if convicted. Click here to learn more about criminal defense lawyers. The most serious murder charge under Florida law, first-degree murder, entails the following:
Murders Committed As Part of drug Dealing Offenses
Florida laws also include felony murder, which is a killing committed during certain specified crimes, such as drug trafficking or rape. The felony-murder rule in Florida is different than the premeditated-murder rule. The prosecutor should demonstrate that the defendant had the clear intent to kill while committing the crime, rather than the intent to kill at a later time. Typically, the prosecutor will present evidence regarding the defendant's actions or steps he/she took to commit the crime.
First-degree murder also includes premeditated killings committed during certain drug dealing offenses such as trafficking in controlled substances or conspiracy to do so. The prosecutor should demonstrate the defendant's clear intention to kill in this type of murder. The prosecutor typically must demonstrate the advance plan or design created to commit the homicide. To demonstrate premeditation, the prosecution may have to present some evidence about the activities of the defendant, or what steps were undertaken to arrange the killing.
Felony murder and murder committed while committing particular drug-related acts To prove first-degree murder based on felony murder, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant had a particular intention to kill someone while committing certain felonies, such as robbery or illegal drug trafficking. The prosecutor must frequently construct a prior strategy or blueprint for committing the homicide. The prosecutor may need to introduce evidence about the defendant's activities or steps taken to prepare for the killing to demonstrate premeditation.
First-degree murder is classified as a capital crime in Florida. Penalties for first-degree murder include life imprisonment or the death penalty, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Florida law also provides for life imprisonment or the penalty of death if the victim was a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or public safety officer. The defendant's criminal history also can impact the penalty for first-degree murder.
The most common possible defenses for first-degree murder in Florida include self-defense, defense of another, and lack of intent to kill. The self-defense defense in Florida is similar to the defense in other states. It is a defense to a charge of first-degree murder if the defendant was inside his or her own home, vehicle, or place of work at the time of the killing and the defendant reasonably believed that he or she was in danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm. The defense of another is a defense to a charge of first-degree murder if the defendant reasonably believed that the other person was in imminent danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm and that the only way to save the other person was to kill.
You should not take any accusations of murder lightly and should contact a local and experienced criminal law attorney as soon as possible.