The state of Florida defines murder as the unlawful killing of another human being. In Jacksonville, this crime is not tolerated, and prosecutors and law enforcement intend to enforce the law to its fullest extent.
A murder charge is probably one of the most intimidating charges anyone can face, and facing this charge alone can be downright terrifying. Before any charges are filing it is essential that you contact a skilled attorney to help you navigate the Florida court system.
The attorneys at the Gregory Law Firm has a combined legal experience of over 50 years, and though our attorneys have worked on many Florida cases, there is no such thing as a “been there, done that case.” Our attorneys handle each case with fresh eyes and bring their A-game to the courtroom every time.
Find out more about Florida’s homicide laws and how we can help you handle your case.
First Degree Murder
First degree murder is the unlawful killing of a human being if:
- A premeditated action to kill either an intended victim or anyone in the vicinity
- A defendant is engaged in the perpetration of or the intention of perpetrating a felony
- The unlawful distribution of certain controlled substances (cocaine, opium, methadone, other substances outlined in 893.03(1)) when the drug is proven to be the proximate cause of the death of the user.
The first part of this law is simple to understand. Anyone that plans to murder another person will be charged with first degree murder.
If a murder occurs during any one of the following felonies, then the defendant will also be charged with first degree murder:
- Home-invasion robbery
- Sexual battery
In this instance, the state can still charge a person attempting to commit a burglary with first degree murder. Let’s say a person robs a bank. During the robbery, the police arrive, and they begin a shootout. An officer is shot by the robber, and now the robber must face a first degree murder charge. For a full list of other felony charges that can result in first degree murder if a murder is committed during the course of the act. see Florida Statute782.04.
The third part of the law refers to drug dealing. In Florida, a drug dealer could face a first degree murder charge if a buyer overdoses on a drug. This part of the law, however, only applies to those 18 years of age or older.
Second Degree Murder
Second degree murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another:
- When perpetrated by any act that is dangerous to another (but without any premeditated design to hurt another human)and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life
- When a person is killed in the perpetration of a felony or in the attempt to perpetrate a felony by someone who is not directly involved
For the first part of the law, let’s say a person decides to push a car off a ravine. It falls on top of another person who was sitting at the bottom. The person who pushed the car is now responsible for the other person’s murder and will more than likely be charged with second degree murder.
The second part of this law is a little more complex. Let’s return to the bank robbery example. A bank robber drives up to a bank with a person in the passenger seat. The robber tells the person to sit tight. Then he goes inside and robs the bank. When the robber returns, the police have arrived and a shootout commences. During the course of the shootout, the police shoot the passenger, who was in no way related to the robbery taking place. The bank robber is now liable for the passenger’s death.
Fighting a murder charge is a difficult process, and it can be extensive, lasting for months or even years. For this type of fight, you need someone who will stand by your side the whole time and offer only the best advice possible. The attorneys at the Gregory Law Firm are in it for the long haul. They will comb over every aspect of your case to build a strong defense and stand up tall against prosecutors.