First degree murder is as serious as it sounds. Applicable in multiple types of homicide situations, it will always carry the harshest of penalties. Herman Law, P.A. will provide the rigorous legal representation you need to successfully combat a first degree murder charge.
What Is Considered to Be First Degree Murder?
Under Florida Law, first degree murder is the most serious homicide charge. Homicide is the unlawful killing of a person and ranges from manslaughter all the way up to first degree murder. First degree murder is a capital felony meaning that the state may pursue the death penalty for anyone convicted of this crime. The state may choose to waive the pursuit of the death penalty in some cases, but if the state does not, the court will conduct a separate sentencing process to determine whether or not the convicted individual should be sentenced to death or life imprisonment. This sentencing proceeding is referred to as the “Penalty Phase.” If a convicted individual does not receive the death penalty, he or she will face a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
There are several homicide situations that may be classified as first degree murder, including:
- Premeditated killings;
- Felony murders; and
- Murders committed during specified drug dealing offenses.
Regarding premeditated killings, the prosecutor must be able to demonstrate that the defendant had a specific intent to kill and there was advanced planning to commit the homicide. This means that the prosecutor must actually be prepared to point to evidence of steps taken by the defendant to prepare for committing the homicide.
Felony murder occurs when a defendant commits homicide during the commission or attempted commission of a specified felony. Florida law specifies these felonies and includes:
- Home invasion robbery
- Sexual battery
- Aggravated stalking
- Resisting officer with violence
- Trafficking in controlled substances
The defendant must have intended to participate in the underlying felony. Without this intent, a first degree felony-murder charge will not hold up.
Some murders that are committed during specified drug dealing offenses, such as drug dealing or the unlawful distribution of controlled substances, will qualify as first degree murders. The charge may also hinge on the type of drug involved. To qualify for first degree murder, the drug involved must be specified under Florida law.
Defending You Against the Most Serious Criminal Charges.
With his extensive experience trying complex criminal cases, Attorney Ron Herman knows what you are up against when you are facing a first degree murder charge. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. The burden is on the prosecution to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. Attorney Herman is here to fight at every turn, poking holes in prosecutorial theories and undermining arguments made against you. Contact Herman Law, P.A. for the aggressive criminal defense counsel you need in the fight of your life.