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Defending Homicide Charges in Florida

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In Florida, if a person's accused of unlawfully taking the life of another, they could be charged with first and second degree murder or manslaughter. What determines the degree includes the specific conduct involved, whether the offense was planned, the person's state of mind, and whether the accused was the one who caused the death of the other. First-degree murder involves acts considered the most severe. As such, it is the highest of the three degrees. Still, any allegation of murder is serious, and a conviction can result in years to life in prison. In some cases, the prosecutor may even seek the death penalty.

If you're facing charges, get in touch with our Jacksonville murder defense lawyers as soon as possible. Building an aggressive legal strategy in these complex matters requires extensive preparation. At First Coast Criminal Defense, our Jacksonville murder defense attorneys are ready to do the hard work necessary to tell your side of the story. Our team purposely takes a small caseload, allowing us to provide the focused and personalized representation our clients need. When you choose our Jacksonville murder defense lawyers, you will have a loyal advocate on your side zealously fighting to protect your rights and freedom.

Are you facing first or second-degree murder in Florida? Call First Coast Criminal Defense today at (904) 474-3115 or contact us online to start your defense!

What Are the Murder Laws in florida?

Florida Statute 782.04 enumerates the elements for each degree of murder. Generally, first and second murder involve the unlawful killing of another person. However, each contains conduct specific to each offense. Therefore, we will discuss Florida's murder law by separating the crimes into their own sections.

First-Degree Murder

In Florida, a person may be charged with first-degree murder if they allegedly caused someone else's death through pre-planning, while committing or attempting to commit a specified felony, or through the distribution of a controlled substance.

For the prosecution to obtain a first-degree premeditated murder conviction, they must prove that the defendant:

  • Killed another person,
  • While involved in a criminal act, and
  • They consciously decided to cause the other's death. The law does not explicitly state how much time must pass between the decision and the actual act. However, the duration must have been such that it shows the defendant thought about their future actions.

First-Degree Felony Murder

The prosecutor can obtain a conviction for first-degree felony murder if they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  • Killed another person,
  • While they were committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing the scene after committing a specified felony, and
  • They were the one who caused the other's death.

Premeditation is not an element of this offense.

Controlled Substances Murder

The prosecutor must prove the following to obtain a first-degree controlled substances conviction:

  • Another person died,
  • The proximate cause of their death was a specified controlled substance, and
  • The defendant unlawfully distributed the substance to the victim.

Contact First Coast Criminal Defense today to schedule a complimentary case evaluation! 

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