Crimes of Murder
Homicide is a legal term that refers to any killing of one person by another, even if the killing is legally justified.
On the other hand, Florida law defines “murder” as an intentional killing of a human being, usually with malice aforethought and without legal justification. Murder can be committed in various ways, including shooting, stabbing, poisoning, or strangulation.
Florida law recognizes several degrees of murder, which are differentiated based on the circumstances surrounding the killing. The most common defenses in a murder case include self-defense, justifiable homicide, and excusable homicide.
Attorney for Crimes of Murder in Florida
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients charged with the most serious criminal offenses punishable under Florida law, including murder in the first, second, or third degree. We also represent clients accused of homicide, including DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
For more than ten (10) years, our office has been at the same location in downtown Tampa, FL. We have additional offices in New Port Richey in Pasco County and Clearwater in Pinellas County, FL.
Contact us to discuss your case. Call 813-250-0500.
First Degree Murder
Murder in the first degree is a capital offense punishable by death or life imprisonment, as explained in Section 775.082, F.S. The crime of murder in the first degree is the unlawful killing of a human being as defined in Section 782.04(1)(a), F.S., as follows:
- when perpetrated from a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or any human being (often called premeditated murder); or
- felony murder as described below.
First Degree Felony Murder
Felony murder is a capital felony generally punishable by life imprisonment or a death sentence as provided in Sections 775.082 and 921.141, F.S.
Section 782.04(1)(a)2., F.S., prohibits killing a human being when the killing is committed by a person engaged in the perpetration of, or in the attempt to perpetrate, any of the following offenses:
- Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
- Aggravated child abuse;
- Aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death;
- Aggravated stalking;
- Aircraft piracy;
- Human trafficking;
- Murder of another human being;
- Resisting an officer with violence to his or her person;
- Robbery including home-invasion robbery;
- Sexual battery;
- Terrorism, including any of terrorism or any felony in furtherance of an act of terrorism;
- Trafficking offense prohibited by s. 893.135(1); or
- Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.
Second Degree Murder
Under Section 782.04(2), F.S., the crime of second degree murder is the unlawful killing of another human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual.
Additionally, the crime of second degree murder may be charged when a person is killed in the perpetration of the crimes listed above, or the attempt to perpetrate one of those crimes, by a person other than the one perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate those crimes. s. 782.04(3), F.S. In addition, the charge requires that the defendant has committed the enumerated felony. Id.
Third Degree Murder
Section 782.04(4), F.S., prohibits the unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated without any design to effect death, by a person engaged in the perpetration of, or in the attempt to perpetrate, any felony other than a listed offense.
The crime of third degree murder is classified as a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.
Attempted Felony Murder
Section 782.051(1), F.S., provides that any person who perpetrates or attempts to perpetrate any felony enumerated in s. 782.04(3), F.S., and who commits, aids, or abets an intentional act that is not an essential element of the felony and that could, but does not, cause the death of another commits a first degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life, or as provided in ss. 775.082, 775.083, or 775.084, F.S.
Section 782.051(2), F.S., provides that any person who perpetrates or attempts to perpetrate any felony other than a felony enumerated in s. 782.04(3), F.S., and who commits, aids, or abets an intentional act that is not an essential element of the felony and that could, but does not, cause the death of another commits a first degree felony.
Section 782.051(3), F.S., provides that when a person is injured during the perpetration of or the attempt to perpetrate any felony enumerated in s. 782.04(3), F.S., by a person other than the person engaged in the perpetration of or the attempt to perpetrate such felony, the person perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate such felony commits a second degree felony.
Manslaughter by Act
The elements of manslaughter by act are “always subsumed within the elements of second-degree felony murder because both offenses require some action by the defendant that ultimately causes the victim’s death.” Dean v. State, 230 So. 3d 420, 423 (Fla. 2017).
Under Section 782.07, F.S., manslaughter is defined as the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another.
Culpable negligence manslaughter requires proof of a “gross and flagrant character, evincing reckless disregard of human life, or of the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, or there is that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences.” McCreary v. State, 371 So. 2d 1024, 1026 (Fla. 1979).
Other examples of manslaughter include DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
This article was last updated on Friday, April 14, 2023.