In legal terms, homicide, or the act of one human being killing another,
branches into the category of murder.
According to Florida Statute, 782.04,
murder is defined as a killing that was not legally sanctioned and that the killer
was motivated to commit the act out of harboring some ill will toward
the victim. This is called "malice aforethought." There are
two types of murder that someone could possibly be charged with: first
degree and second degree. First, it is important to understand how crimes
are processed and then subsequently charged.
FROM ARREST TO CHARGE: THE CRIMINAL PROCESS
When a person is arrested, the police fill out a report which is then given
to prosecution to look over the details of the arrest, reasons why the
officer had cause to arrest the individual, and decide if charges are
warranted. By law, to charge someone with murder, the two aforementioned
factors must be present, the sources of evidence can corroborate the charge,
and that the crime was possible based on these beyond a reasonable doubt.
If it is suspected that other crimes would be committed, the prosecution
can also decide that other charges need to be made. On the other hand,
if these elements do not exist, then the case may be dropped at the onset
and there would be no need for litigation. The factors will vary case by case.
ELEMENTS OF SECOND DEGREE MURDER
To put it in the simplest way, second degree murder is considered the less
severe of the two types. The killing was carried out in a way that intended
to cause serious harm to the other individual, but was not necessarily
premeditated or planned beforehand. Here is an example: two people get
into a heated scuffle at a party. One decides to retaliate harsh and batter
the other person, who ends up with substantial injuries that lead to his
death later that night.
Second degree murder charges can sometimes be difficult for prosecutors
to argue. It involves knowing the individual's state of mind at the
time of the killing. Did that person decide in that moment, with all of
the intent and ill will, to kill? Second degree murder can also be charged
if the killing was carried out in conjunction with another felony, such as
arson, rape, or theft, and it could be foreseen that a person's death could
result from those actions.
DEFINING FIRST DEGREE MURDER
First degree murder charges is an intentional and premeditated killing.
An example would be someone who waits for another person to come home
and kills that person. The prosecution has the burden of proving that
the act was planned, deliberate, and that the killer had enough time to
think through the action.
THE POSSIBLE PENALTIES FOR MURDER
Penalties will vary for each set of circumstances, depending on whether
or not the case was a first degree or second degree charge. They will
also depend on whether or not another crime was committed together with
These are the current minimum Florida penalties for murder:
First degree: 30 years up to life imprisonment, fines up to $10, 000
Second degree: 15 years up to life imprisonment, and fines up to $10, 000
Other penalties impact a person's reputation and future prospects.
It can be difficult to maintain employment, apply for a home or auto loan,
and many liberties can be taken away. If you are facing the possibility
of murder charges, it is imperative that you reach out to a
Miami criminal defense lawyer right away to look into your case.
As a team of former prosecutors, we know exactly what it takes to win.
Parks & Braxton, P.A. has been able to dismiss thousands of cases for clients. We are
a top-rated Miami criminal defense firm and we can help you defend you
from your charges.
Call us today and speak to us during your free, confidential consultation!