Murder and manslaughter, two distinct types of homicides, bring the harshest of penalties if convicted. Defendants accused of a serious homicide offense must have a strong defense strategy and an aggressive legal team to effectively fight the charges.
If you or your loved one has been indicted for or is under investigation for either of these violent crimes, reach out to the murder and manslaughter lawyers in Bradenton at Goldman Wetzel. We can protect your rights during the justice process, develop a defense, and provide the counsel you need. Call us today at 941-405-5193 to explore your options.
How Does Florida Classify Murder and Manslaughter Offenses?
While they are both homicides, murder and manslaughter each involve different factors. Florida Statutes Chapter 782 breaks down each type of offense as follows:
Murder Charges in Florida
- Murder in the First Degree: This involves either a premeditated killing or killing someone while committing or attempting to commit certain felonies such as aggravated child abuse or sexual battery.
- Murder in the Second Degree: This occurs when someone with a depraved mind kills by an act imminently dangerous to another and showing no regard for human life.
- Murder in the Third Degree: This occurs when someone accidentally kills someone while committing certain felonies.
Manslaughter Charges in Florida
- Manslaughter: Florida Statute § 782.07defines manslaughter as “the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification…and in cases in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder.”
- Aggravated manslaughter of an elderly person or disabled adult: This occurs when a person kills a disabled or elderly person by “culpable negligence.”
- Aggravated manslaughter of a child: This occurs when the defendant kills a minor via culpable negligence.
- Aggravated manslaughter of an officer, a firefighter, an EMT, or a paramedic: This occurs when the defendant kills someone in one of these protected classes via culpable negligence.
What Types of Homicide Cases Does Goldman Wetzel Accept?
We represent defendants in and around the Bradenton area who have been charged with all types of homicide charges. Our criminal defense attorneys have over 30 years’ experience in both prosecution and defense, during which time we have gained a deep understanding of the criminal justice system and a wealth of effective defense strategies.
Some of the types of homicide cases we accept include:
- Murder of the first, second, or third degree
- Manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter
- Vehicular homicide
- Assisting self-murder
- Killing of unborn child by injury to mother
- Unnecessary killing to prevent unlawful act
To see if your case is a good match for our defense firm, contact our office and speak to one of our team members today.
What Penalties Do I Face for Murder or Manslaughter?
The penalties for murder and manslaughter depend on the nature of the charges. NOTE: If you work with our attorneys at the onset of your case, we may be able to present an initial defense or argument that deters the prosecutor from filing formal charges or at least lowers the category of the offense, e.g., from murder to manslaughter.
Below are the potential punishments for murder and manslaughter:
|Murder in the First Degree (capital offense)||Life in prison or death penalty|
|Murder in the Second Degree (first-degree felony)||Up to life in prison
|Murder in the Third Degree (second-degree felony)||15 years in prison
|Manslaughter (second-degree felony)||15 years in prison
|Aggravated Manslaughter (first-degree felony)||Up to life in prison
What Defenses to Murder and Manslaughter Are Available?
Depending on the nature of the charges, the prosecutor must prove a list of elements to obtain a conviction. We will pinpoint any weaknesses in the state’s case or expose gaps in evidence. For example, to prove murder, the prosecutor will have to demonstrate premeditation. We might be able to argue that the act was sudden, provoked, and not premeditated, or that it was an excusable homicide.
Other potential defenses include:
- Actual innocence
- Mistaken identity
- Justifiable homicide (Florida Statute § 782.02provides: “The use of deadly force is justifiable when a person is resisting any attempt to murder such person or to commit any felony upon him or her or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person shall be.)
- Violation of constitutional rights
What Should My First Step Be If I Am Accused of or Charged with Murder or Manslaughter?
If you have been accused of murder or manslaughter, contact the Bradenton defense team at Goldman Wetzel to discuss your next steps. Our firm has the skills, resources, and persistence necessary to help fight these types of serious allegations. A criminal defense attorney’s early legal intervention, rigorous investigation, and a well-thought-out defense is critical to the outcome of your case.
After discussing the facts of your case with you in a confidential meeting and reviewing your file, our team of attorneys can advise on the best way to proceed. In some cases, this might mean negotiating with the prosecutor to secure a plea bargain. In other situations, it might mean filing motions and preparing for trial. We will look for holes in the state’s case and craft a strong, thorough defense to protect your best interests.
Throughout the entire process, we will explain what you can expect, keep you and your family abreast of case updates and upcoming proceedings, and advocate for the most favorable outcome.
Call for a Free Consult with a Murder/Manslaughter Lawyer in Bradenton.
Our attorneys can manage any type of homicide case in federal or state court. If you or your loved one has been indicted for murder or manslaughter in Bradenton, call Goldman Wetzel and speak to a criminal defense attorney today. The initial call is free: 941-405-5193.