Miami Murder Defense Attorneys
Florida Murder Penalties & Laws
Murder is the unlawful taking of another's life. Florida statutes enumerate three degrees of murder, each carrying severe punishments that can alter the course of a person's life forever. If you were charged with murder, your rights and future are at stake, and you need an attorney on your side who can fight toward a favorable outcome on your behalf. For the aggressive defense you need, reach out to Hager & Schwartz, P.A. as soon as possible.
Our Miami murder defense lawyers understand the seriousness of these types of charges. Throughout our over 40 years of combined experience, we have handled numerous complex cases, and we know what it takes to get results. Our team puts the time and resources necessary into defending against murder charges. We thoroughly examine the evidence, interview witnesses, and review all relevant details. Most importantly, we listen to your side of the story. Providing personalized legal attention throughout your case, we'll get to know you and learn about your circumstances, allowing us to develop a defense strategy for your specific needs. Building a solid professional relationship founded on trust and honesty will help as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you from start to finish.
Florida's Three Degrees of Murder
Various acts can result in the death of another person. Sometimes an individual deliberately causes such a result, and other times, the loss of life stems from unintentional, yet harmful behaviors. Florida recognizes these different actions by defining three degrees of murder.
The most serious type of murder is first degree. The law defines this as the unlawful killing of a human, resulting from premeditation, felony murder, or unlawful drug distribution.
Premeditation means that a person planned to kill the other.
Felony murder refers to the loss of life resulting from conduct engaged in while committing or attempting to commit a felony. The person who killed the other need not have intended to do so to be charged with first-degree murder under the felony murder provision.
The specified felonies include, but are not limited to:
Lastly, an individual can be charged with first-degree murder if the death of the other person resulted from their taking a controlled substance that was unlawfully provided to them by the defendant.
The substances listed in the statute include, but are not limited to:
In Florida, a person can be charged with second-degree murder if, acting with a depraved mind and showing utter disregard for human life, they engaged in imminently dangerous conduct. This differs from first-degree murder in that the alleged offender lacked premeditation.
Additionally, a person can be accused of second-degree murder if someone is killed while the alleged offender is committing or attempting to commit another felony. Unlike first-degree felony murder, the alleged offender is not the one who takes the other's life. Instead, the death is caused by someone not engaged in the other felony offense. The felonies that trigger a second-degree felony murder charge are the same as those enumerated for first-degree (with the exception of human trafficking).
Third-degree murder occurs when someone takes the life of another while committing any other offense than those enumerated in the provisions for first- and second-degree felony murder. As with second-degree murder, a person may be charged with third-degree if they acted without premeditation.
The Punishments for Murder in Florida
As mentioned before, murder convictions carry harsh penalties.
The level of charge and potential punishments for murder include the following:
- First-degree murder: A capital felony, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole, or death
- Second-degree murder: A first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
- Third-degree murder: A second-degree felony, which is penalized by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
We Know How to Handle Your Case
Being charged with murder is serious, and you need a serious attorney on your side, ready to challenge the prosecution. At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., we are one of the most widely recognized legal advocates for the criminally accused. Our Miami murder defense attorneys have decades of combined experience handling cases on both sides of the courtroom. We can anticipate the State's moves and build a legal strategy to counter them. We have obtained victories for past clients and will work toward doing the same for you.
I could not be happier with the outcome as it exceeded my expectations!- Robert
I will be forever grateful.- B. D.
Couldn't have done it without him!- Erika
I strongly recommend John Hager.- Sara
So grateful to have found Brett Schwartz!- Rachel
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