Understanding Your Charges
There are two types of murder charges. If one is charged with first degree murder, it indicates that it is considered that the act was premeditated, planned with malice aforethought. This can include acts of intentional poisoning, lying in wait, imprisonment, torture, etc. If a death of another individual occurred during the commission of another felony, in Florida law, this death can also be charged as a first degree murder. First degree murder charges can result in life in prison or the death penalty.
When the charge is second degree murder, this is in cases in which a death occurred that shows an extreme disregard for human life. This can include acts of unlawful distribution of certain substances that may cause the death of the user, for example. The penalty for second degree murder can include up to 30 years in state prison.
Aggressive Defense for Your Case
The defendant's state of mind is what differentiates murder from other offenses, like manslaughter. If the intent was premeditated and calculated, this would be considered murder, but if the act was accidental and/or unintentional, this would be considered manslaughter under the law. Also, any mental condition that may have affected a person's judgment may be taken into account—depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, medication side-effects, temporary insanity, etc.
If the killing was not intentional, it may be considered reckless killing, criminally negligent homicide, or manslaughter, as motive and/or intent must be proven by prosecution to make a valid case against an individual for murder charges. These cases are understandably emotionally charged. There are often members of the deceased person's families who are intent upon seeing you convicted. In many cases, the charge is unfounded as the death occurred due to self-defense, or the accused was not involved in any way. Whatever the situation is, you need legal help quickly, and it needs to be of the highest quality.