Attempted Murder Charges in Jacksonville, FL: Get the Defense You Need
If you’re facing attempted murder charges in Jacksonville, FL, the stakes have never been higher. Being accused of trying to kill another person is a serious offense, and the consequences for being found guilty, which most often include jail time, can have a dramatic impact on the rest of your life.
Because of the severity of the crime, securing an attempted murder conviction requires the prosecution to build an ironclad case that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you tried to kill someone. This can often be difficult to do, especially when you have experienced lawyers to help you craft a winning case.
Learn everything you need to know about your attempted murder charges as well as what you can do to defend yourself. Your life and your future are very much on the line.
What are Attempted Murder Charges in Jacksonville, FL?
According to Florida statutes, attempted murder charges are brought when a person engages in an activity that could have killed another human being. The person does not have to die. In fact, if they do, this would be charged as murder.
Attempted murder most often comes about when a person makes a direct attempt against another person’s life. But attempted murder charges can also be brought if a person dies while you are committing another federal crime, such as:
- Trafficking (drugs or people)
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated child abuse
- Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
- Aircraft piracy
- Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging f a destructive device or bomb
- Home-invasion robbery
- Aggravated stalking
- Aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death
- Resisting an officer with violence to his or her person
- Act of terrorism
In other words, if you engage in one of these activities and someone dies as a result, it doesn’t matter if it was your intent to kill them or not, you can still be charged with attempted murder.
The idea is that these activities are dangerous enough that you should have known someone might be killed as a result.
The Importance of Intent in Attempted Murder Cases
One thing that’s very important to remember in attempted murder cases is that intent must be established. In other words, the prosecution must be able to prove that the accused knowingly engaged in an activity that could result in the death of another person.
Unless you were involved in one of the above mentioned crimes, accidental deaths are usually not considered attempted murder.
When crafting a defense against attempted murder charges in Jacksonville, FL, or anywhere else, it’s important to establish the facts leading up to the act. This will help demonstrate what your intention was, and if you can make it clear that you did intend for the other person to die, you stand a much better chance of receiving an acquittal.
In some cases, depending on the specific nature of your case, it might not be possible to avoid charges altogether.
However, if you can prove there was no intent, you may be able to reduce the charge to manslaughter or perhaps even aggravated assault. These are still felonies, but they are considered to be less serious and lead to less severe consequences.
Justifiable Use of Force in Florida
Although it goes against what we might naturally assume, not all killings are considered murder in Florida. State statutes allow someone to use force, and even take another person’s life, when their own life is being threatened or when someone else is attempting to commit a felony against them.
These are known more commonly as “self-defense” cases, and this type of defense may apply in your situation.
If you’re able to prove self-defense, it’s possible to have all charges dropped and to move on with your life without facing jail time or any other consequences.
The Consequences for Attempted Murder in Florida
Even though the murder was “attempted,” the state of Florida considers this act to be the same as actually killing someone, which means the punishments are nearly identical.
If found guilty for attempted murder, you will almost certainly be sent to jail. How much time you spend in prison will depend on whether or not you are charged with attempted murder in the first or second degree.
First Degree Attempted Murder
Attempted murder in the first degree is charged when the prosecution believes the accused acted in a premeditated way.
This means you planned out when and where you were going to kill the other person and then acted on these plans, even if the murder itself did not happen. You may also be charged with first-degree attempted murder if a firearm was discharged during the incident, regardless of your intent.
Like murder in the first degree, attempted murder in the first degree is punished with a minimum jail sentence of 25 years, which can be extended to life in prison, or, in some extreme circumstances, the death penalty.
Second Degree Attempted Murder
The alternative to first degree attempted murder is attempted murder in the second degree. The difference here is that you did not plan out or premeditate the killing of another person. Instead, you acted in the moment.
This is often referred to as a “crime of passion.”
Punishments for attempted murder in the second degree tend to be less severe, but they still include jail time. However, the maximum sentence for this crime is 15 years in prison.
Defending Yourself Against Attempted Murder Charges in Jacksonville, FL
Given the severity of the potential consequences, you must take your defense seriously. A guilty verdict at trial could send you to prison for the rest of your life, and it will all but ruin your future.
As mentioned, establishing intent is the biggest task for the prosecution. They must be able to prove that you knew what you were doing could kill someone else and that you still did it anyway.
However, there are other things that must go right for the prosecution to be able to prove their case. Evidence collection and witness interviews must all be done according to precedent, otherwise they can be excluded from court, all of which might help your case.
Due to the complexity of the defense required, the best thing you can do if you’re facing attempted murder charges in Jacksonville, FL is to hire an experienced defense attorney to help you.
At Smith and Eulo, our lawyers have years of experience helping clients prepare for court and achieve the best possible result, so if you’re facing attempted murder charges, get in touch today so we can start helping you craft your defense. We offer payment plans and take all major credit cards.
In addition to our location in Jacksonville, we also have offices in:
Here are some additional legal resources in the Jacksonville area to help you navigate your legal situation.