Miami Criminal Homicide Attorney
Criminal homicide in Florida is an umbrella term that encompasses specific charges for specific circumstances when a human life is unlawfully taken by the act of another. Both murder and manslaughter fall under that umbrella, but according to Florida statutes, describe two very distinct situations. Because a human life has been lost, however, a homicide charge is generally the most serious one a person may face.
Under Section 782 of the Florida Statutes, criminal homicide is defined as “the unlawful killing of a human being.” This separates murder and manslaughter from justifiable homicide, such as self-defense, or excusable homicide, which may result from an accident or misfortune with no underlying criminal action.
First-degree murder can be proven one of two ways: through “premeditation,” or prior plan or intent to kill, or as a “felony murder.” Basically, a felony murder occurs when another specified crime (arson, robbery, kidnapping, sexual battery, etc.) takes place, and an innocent party dies as a result, or during the course, of the other crime. A conviction of either type of first-degree murder brings either a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole, or death by lethal injection. This is a capital charge — the most serious accusation one can face in our system of justice.
Second-degree murder does not involve premeditation, but can and often does involve prior malice, spite, or ill will (such as a killing during a fight). Or if two co-felons commit a crime, and one co-felon dies as a result, the surviving co-felon may be prosecuted for the death of his cohort. Second-degree murder in Florida is a first-degree felony, also punishable by up to life in prison without parole.
Manslaughter applies to a situation in which no premeditation, spite, or ill will is present, but a death occurs without justification or excuse (such as a shooting caused by careless handling of a loaded firearm). Manslaughter is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Of all the laws in the Florida criminal code, those under Section 782 carry the most serious consequences possible, because they involve the unlawful taking of a human life. Being named as a suspect or “person of interest” in a homicide case can be one of the most intimidating, terrifying situations a person can find himself or herself in. If you or someone you love is in such a position, contact Tony Moss immediately at 877.547.9407, or at Tony@TonyMossLaw.com.