Lockett Law regularly represents people who have been accused of Murder and Homicide by the state of Florida. There are a multitude of charges under Florida law based on the killing of another person, either on purpose or on accident. Any time there is an accusation that a person caused another to die, that is considered homicide. Murder is the most serious kind of homicide and is charged when the state believes a person killed someone else on purpose.
What are the Different Types of Homicide?
Murder in Florida is charged as first, second or third degree.
- First-Degree Murder is defined by Florida Statutes 782.04(1). There are three ways a homicide can be charged as first-degree murder under Florida law:
- A premeditated killing
- Death during the commission of a dangerous felony
- Death from a specific list of drugs, distributed by the accused.
First-Degree Murder is a capital felony and carries up to death or life in prison if found guilty.
- Second-Degree Murder is defined by Florida Statutes 782.04(2-3). Second-Degree Murder can be pursued under two legal theories:
- Depraved-heart murder: when a person dies due to extremely reckless behavior with no regard for human life, that is considered murder in the second degree, even though there was no intentional killing.
- If a third party kills someone during a dangerous felony, the result is second-degree murder under Florida law.
Second-Degree Murder is a first-degree felony, carrying up to life in prison.
- Third-Degree Murder is defined by Florida Statutes 782.04(4). Third-Degree Murder is charged when death results due to the defendant committing a felony, but only felonies which are not reserved for first-degree murder.
Third-Degree Murder is a second-degree felony, carrying up to 15 years in prison.
Definition: charged when actions cause a person to die, but the actual death was not intended. Florida Statutes 782.07 outlines the elements and the penalties.
- Voluntary Manslaughter – committing an act on purpose that kills someone, but without the intent to actually kill them.
- Involuntary Manslaughter – when a person’s negligence leads to the death of another.
Ordinarily, manslaughter is a second-degree felony, carrying up to 15 years in prison. If the death is an elderly person, or an emergency responder, the charge can increase to a first-degree felony, carrying up to 30 years in prison.
Definition: Reckless driving, leading to the death of a person, defined by Florida Statutes 782.071.
Vehicular Homicide is a second-degree felony, carrying up to 15 years in prison, unless the perpetrator failed to give aid and information to the victim, then it can become a first-degree felony, with up to 30 years in prison. If under the influence of alcohol, it is possible to be charged with DUI Manslaughter.
Defenses to Murder and Homicide Charges
- General Denial – Useful when eyewitness testimony makes up all or a bulk of the evidence. It could be that another person committed the crime, and evidence tending to show that can be used to foster reasonable doubt. Outlandish situations where a person fakes their death, or a person is framed would also be handled with this defense.
- Self-Defense – Self-Defense can be used to completely defeat a murder or homicide charge. Deadly force is authorized under Florida law in multiple scenarios, if one of those fits, the judge may dismiss the case outright.
- Defense of Others – Defense of another person is nearly identical to self-defense, but occurs when someone else is in danger and third-party steps in.
- Defense of Property – There are very limited circumstances where non-deadly force can be used in defense of property. This would most likely apply to manslaughter charges but could be applied in some niche scenarios.
- Alternative cause of death – if a person died of something not caused by the defendant, a homicide charge may not be able to be sought.
Homicide Defense Attorney in Jacksonville, FL
Lee Lockett and legal team at Lockett Law are based out of Duval County, but travel all over North Florida to defend the rights of the accused. The team is prepared to defend your rights if you have been accused of any type of homicide or murder charge in or out of Jacksonville. Mr. Lockett began his career as a prosecutor and brings that knowledge to defend the accused and seek justice. He learned how these cases work and he shifted that skillset to begin defending the rights of the accused and ensuring justice is served. Call a Jacksonville homicide lawyer today at (904) 858-9818 or connect with our team in the chat window on the bottom right of your screen to have an open and free consultation.