Murder is one of the most serious offenses that a person can ever commit. Taking someone else’s life is an act that can put you, or your accused loved one in jail for many years, paired with hefty fines and severe penalties that the court will rule. And if you’re charged with murder, know that it can be challenging to prove your innocence, as the burden of proof usually falls on you.

If you are facing any criminal accusation, it is vital to ensure that your rights are respected and that a legal professional is fighting for you every step of the way. A Murder Defense Lawyer in Clearwater from Smith & Eulo will know how to present the best possible defense to give you the best outcome.

What is Murder?

Murder is when one person takes the life of another unlawfully. The legal definition of murder varies by jurisdiction, and it can range from first-degree murder to second-degree murder, depending on the severity of the crime. It’s perpetrated and pre-meditated with the thought or intention of killing another person.

Homicide and murder are different since homicide is the act of killing another human being without any pre-mediation. In other words, it can be unintentional. For instance, your actions while driving a car caused the death of another person. But that doesn’t mean you’re a murderer.

On the other hand, murder is a type of homicide, but it’s different due to two distinct factors. First the murder stems from malicious intent, so it’s always committed purposefully. Furthermore, it’s also always unjustifiable. And in Florida, there are three classifications or degrees of murder.

The Three Degrees or Classifications of Murder in Clearwater, FL

Murder is classified into three different degrees based on the crime’s complexity and severity.

These three murder classifications are as follows:

Third-Degree Murder

Murder is classified as third-degree if the murder happened during a non-violent crime and is unintentional. Drug deaths are an exemption to this rule, so anyone who supplies a person with a drug and dies later due to taking these drugs is automatically charged with first-degree murder.

Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder is more severe than third-degree murder.  It refers to murder without regard for human life, even though the offense lacks premeditation. Second-degree murder is also explained as murder with a depraved mind. An accomplice felony murder is when you’re an accomplice to a serious crime, where the accomplice kills someone.

First-Degree Murder

Murder, to the first degree, is the most serious out of all classifications, and it involves murder while a felony is committed, such as a sexual battery, arson, kidnapping, burglary, and aggravated stacking, or if the murder is premeditated.

If you or a loved one has been charged with these murder classifications, looking for a Murder Defense Lawyer Defense in Clearwater is the best option. They can explain the entire process and what needs to be done to ensure the best possible outcome despite the circumstances.

Penalties & Fines for Murder

Since murder has three different classifications, the penalties for each are different. Getting familiarized with the consequences will help you understand the extent of each murder classification.

The penalties and fines for murder are as follows:

  • First-degree murder: A person charged with first-degree faces a capital felony. The result is a maximum of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. However, there are rare cases where they may also face the death penalty.
  • Second-degree murder: The person charged with second-degree murder faces a first-degree felony, equal to a jail time of up to life with a $10,000 fine.
  • Third-degree murder: When a person unintentionally kills another during the commission of another felony, it’s considered second-degree murder. The imprisonment sentence is a maximum of 15 years with a fine that cannot exceed $10,000.

Is Manslaughter Different from Homicide or Murder?

Manslaughter is a less serious crime than murder in the sense that a person commits manslaughter without malice afterthought. It’s a legal way of saying that the person doesn’t intend to harm or kill another person. But in Florida, there’s involuntary or voluntary manslaughter.

In voluntary manslaughter, the person commits an intentional act that’s neither justified nor excusable, resulting in another person’s death. Involuntary manslaughter is when a person engages in a negligent or reckless act that results in the death of another.

It’s worth remembering that the penalties and fines for voluntary and involuntary manslaughter are similar to those for third-degree murder.

What Happens if I’m Accused of Murder?

Many people who have been charged with murder have defenses that will help dismiss or lessen the penalties and fines, as long as you’re defended by a reputable Murder Defense Lawyer defense attorney in Clearwater with years of experience in handling these types of cases.

If you are accused of murder, your lawyer will investigate the case and evidence to help prove that you didn’t commit murder or that the act wasn’t done with malice or intent to kill. With many types of defenses available, your lawyer can turn the tides in your favor.

Types of defenses for a murder accusation:

  • Self-defense: The defendant must show that the act of killing was reasonable due to fear of death or bodily harm falling upon them by the other person.
  • Mistaken identity: The defendant must have an alibi or proof to prove or support the case that they were identified mistakenly by witnesses.
  • Failure to prove the elements: Many elements come into play in establishing murder, and if one of these elements is missing, the accused couldn’t be accused of murder.

Protect Your Rights & Work with a Clearwater Murder Defense Lawyer Now

If you face a murder charge, it’s best to work with a reputable lawyer who can help you understand the whole process. They can help you understand the situation as you navigate the criminal justice system.

A murder charge can be devastating since it carries serious consequences, so you need a lawyer with years of experience and skills. Smith & Eulo’s team will help you find a solution as you face these charges, we have one of the few Board-Cerntified Criminal Trial Certified Lawyers in the State of FL. If you or your loved one find themselves in a situation where you are being accused of Murder? Call us right away at 727 250-0857 to speak with a qualified legal professional or fill out the contact form on this page. We’re available 24/7, we offer free initial consultation and payment plans. In addition to our Clearwater office, we have offices in the following cities across the state of Florida:

*Additional Orlando Florida & Orange County Legal Resources

We Serve Clearwater, FL

Available 24/7

Contact Us Today!