Murder or homicide is the most serious crime that you can be charged with in Florida. Murder refers to the unlawful killing of another human being. There are different degrees of murder charges depending upon how you committed the murder and whether you intended for your victim to die or not. However, if you are convicted of murder, you likely will be sentenced to at least some jail time.
If you have been accused of murder, you must seek help from a Tampa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You could potentially face life in prison or the death penalty for a conviction of murder in Florida. Stechschulte Nell will help you explore your defenses or negotiate a plea deal to reduce your sentence. As a board-certified criminal trial law attorney and former prosecutor, Ben Stechschulte has a track record of success defending murder charges and can help you make smart decisions about your case.
Murder in Florida
In the state of Florida, if you commit a premeditated or intentional murder or if you commit a murder while in the act of committing a serious felony, you can be sentenced to first degree murder. A first degree murder conviction can result in life in prison or the death penalty.
Second degree murder is another serious charge in Florida. You can be charged with second degree murder if you kill someone without intent or premeditation while engaging in an act that shows a blatant disregard for human life.
If you kill someone accidentally or unintentionally, you may be charged with third degree murder. Third degree murder is a second degree felony and you could go to jail for 15 years if convicted.
Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide
If you cause someone’s death through gross negligence with no intent, you may be charged with manslaughter in Florida. Manslaughter may be either a first or second degree felony, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the act.
In addition, if you cause someone’s death while driving drunk or otherwise operating your vehicle in an unsafe manner, you may be charged with vehicular homicide or DUI manslaughter. In certain cases, however, you may be able to challenge causation with the help of an accident reconstruction expert and a Tampa DUI defense attorney in order to prove that your intoxicated driving or other unsafe driving was not the cause of the accident or the resulting deaths.
Defending Yourself Against Murder Charges
You can assert a number of possible defenses to a murder charge, depending on the circumstances. One option is the stand your ground defense wherein you argue that you had to use deadly force because the victim was threatening you or presenting an imminent danger. Lack of evidence that you committed the murder or lack of intent are also potential defenses that can result in a not-guilty verdict or help reduce your sentence.
Contact St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Ben Stechschulte
At Stechschulte Nell, we have represented many clients who were coping with murder charges. If you find yourself facing murder accusations, contact us as soon as possible for help in dealing with law enforcement, building evidence and managing your case.