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Within the Florida legal system, there are multiple ways to be charged in connection with the death of another person. Words like homicide, murder, and manslaughter are often used interchangeably by the general public, but there are key differences between them. If you are facing any of these charges, it is vital to understand what each charge means and how they are distinguished.
The degrees of homicide are considered the most serious, as they involve the death of another human being. To properly defend against a homicide charge, you must first understand what the term means and its implications in the legal process.
Homicide is defined in F.S. § 782 as the killing of one human being by another. A homicide charge can be either lawful or unlawful. Lawful homicides classified as either justified or excusable should not result in an arrest or charges.
If these conditions can be presented early in your case, it may prevent any charges from being filed. For this reason, speaking with a knowledgeable attorney right away can have significant effects, even if you have not been arrested yet.
The manslaughter charge is used when the killing is unlawful but without malice. This means the accused did not intend to harm or kill the victim, nor was there a reckless disregard for human life. There are two types:
According to Florida state law, murder is deliberate killing that cannot be legally justified and is committed with malice of another human. Malice aforethought is shown to exist with proving intention to kill without legal excuse, intending to cause serious harm that resulted in the victim’s death and displaying reckless disregard for life that caused the victim’s death. There are two forms of murder charges per Florida criminal law:
Both manslaughter and murder are forms of homicide because they result in another person’s death. They differ in the intent behind the crime. Manslaughter charges apply when the death occurred due to the accused’s actions, but the death was not intentional. Murder charges apply if the accused intended to kill the victim.
Manslaughter is considered a second-degree or a first-degree felony, depending on the factors of the case. Aggravating factors that can increase the severity of the punishment are tied to the victim and apply when the victim is elderly, a minor, a disabled adult, or a first responder. The punishment is a $10,000 fine and a 15- or 30-year maximum prison sentence.
Murder is considered a second-degree, a first-degree, or a capital felony in Florida, depending on the circumstances of the case. Factors that can affect the severity of the charge are tied to how the crime was committed and the specific intent of the accused. The punishment depends on the degree. For first- and second-degree felonies, a $10,000 fine and a 15- or 30-year maximum prison sentence are given. A capital felony carries a penalty of life imprisonment or death.
Many different crimes can potentially be committed when a person causes the death of another, but there are two main charges: manslaughter and murder. The distinguishing factor between these two types of charges is the intent behind the action. The more serious crime of murder requires the prosecutors to prove intent to kill.
The penalties for a manslaughter or murder conviction are grave and will negatively affect every aspect of your life. Contacting Prya Murad Law should be your first action if you believe you are a person of suspicion for another’s death. Your defense will benefit from every second our skilled team is on your case.