If you have been accused of murder or manslaughter, you should be very concerned about how your case will be charged – and the attorney who handles your case.
Homicide in Florida can be charged in three degrees of murder and also as manslaughter. Premeditated or felony murder can be charged as first degree – the most serious. Premeditated means that the act was thought about beforehand and followed through with – killing after consciously deciding to do so. Felony murder means that a life was lost during or as a result of the commission of a dangerous felony, such as robbery, burglary, arson, kidnapping or sexual battery.
Second degree murder is when a death occurs as a result of a criminal act and that such act was imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life. What must be shown is that the defendant completely disregarded human life (i.e., had a depraved heart).
Manslaughter is when you intentionally commit an act that results in a person’s death – such as driving drunk. Manslaughter can be defended if it was justifiable or excusable. An example of justifiable would be you kill someone who is trying to kill you or break into your house. Excusable is when the killing is done by accident or misfortune when you do something with usual caution and without any unlawful intent. Sometimes unfortunate things just happen and people die – that does not mean that the person involved in a related activity should be prosecuted for manslaughter.
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