Homicide & Attempted Homicide
Florida Statutes Chapter 782 covers the charges of homicide, which is the act of murder by one human being of another. Homicide can be classified as murder, manslaughter, or vehicular homicide.
Murder can be in the first degree, second degree, or third degree. First degree murder has a premeditated design element necessary for a conviction, which is a pre-planned act or scheme. Felony murder also falls under the sphere of first degree murder. Felony murder involves killing another person while engaged in a commission of a felony or attempted commission regardless the intent to kill. Both are punishable by either death or life in prison without parole.
Murder in the second degree lack the premeditation, but includes depraved mind and no regard for human life elements. One can also be an accomplice to a person committing the act of murder regardless the intent to kill. Second degree murder is punishable by a minimum mandatory 16.75 years in prison and up to a life in prison, with a possible 10-20-Life enhancement if a firearm was used or possessed.
Third degree murder is a non-violent felony with unintentional killing of another person. It is punishable by a minimum of 10.3 years minimum mandatory in prison up to 15 years in prison.
Manslaughter is classified as voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is either committed by an act or procurement, committing an act, which is neither justifiable nor excusable, that results in a death of another person, or inducing someone else to commit an act that results in a death of another person. Involuntary manslaughter involves an act with culpable negligence that resulted in a death of another person. Involuntary or voluntary manslaughter is a second degree felony. There is a minimum mandatory 9.25 years in prison sentence with up to 15 years in prison. Manslaughter with a firearm is reclassified as a first degree felony, which also carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 9.25 years in prison up to 30 years in prison.
Aggravated manslaughter of a child is designated as involuntary manslaughter with culpable negligence as neglect of a child. Culpable negligence is defined as reckless disregard for human life or safety of person exposed to its effects, or conscious indifference to consequences, or wantonness or recklessness, or grossly careless disregard for the safety of the public, or indifference to the rights of others as intentional violations of those rights. There is a minimum mandatory 13-year sentence of up to a life in prison, making a first degree felony.
Vehicle manslaughter is operation of a vehicle in a reckless manner causing the death of another person. Degree if culpability is less than that of manslaughter. It is a second degree felony with a minimum mandatory 9.25 years in prison and up to 30 years in prison. Vehicular manslaughter without providing information is a first degree felony with the same minimum mandatory sentence with up to 30 years in prison.
Defenses to homicide are excusable homicide, justifiable homicide, or self-defense. Excusable homicide is defined as an accident or misfortune with intent of doing lawful act or in the heat of passion upon any sudden provocation. Justifiable homicide is resisting an attempt by someone to kill you or commit a felony against you. Self-defense constitutes justifiable use of deadly force to protect oneself, one’s property, or others if facing a threat and to prevent imminent death, great bodily harm, or imminent commission of a felony.
Attempted homicide is the act of murder where a person intends to kill another person, but for some reason fails. This charge also includes intent and a plan. It is classified as first degree felony if there is a premeditated design or a second degree felony if there is without premeditation or in heat of passion or in commission of another felony.
Homicide carries the harshest sentence and the need for advice of counsel is grave. Mr. Stewart will assess your case by reviewing the evidence and favorable witnesses to pursue some of the possible defenses. Please contact Stewart Law Firm today for your free consultation.