In Florida, homicide charges are divided into numerous categories, and each has a different set of elements that prosecutors must prove, as well as distinct penalties. If you are facing murder or manslaughter charges in St. Petersburg, it is essential to hire a tough, determined defense attorney who has the skills and knowledge to meet the challenges of your case head-on. Without an experienced lawyer representing you, your side of the story might not be brought out in the best light, and you may wind up with an undesirable outcome. To discuss your defense, contact Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 today to schedule a free consultation.
Types of Homicides Florida Recognizes
Homicide is a broad term for a violent crime that can refer to numerous types of killings. No matter what type you have been charged with — even if it’s considered an excusable or justifiable homicide — you should consult a lawyer right away. Our firm can assist with any case, including those below.
- Justifiable use of deadly force, such as defending yourself;
- Attempted murder;
- Excusable homicide (a pure accident not caused by negligence);
- Manslaughter (an accidental killing caused by negligence);
- Manslaughter of the first degree (the state will charge you with this if the victim was elderly, a child or a special victim, e.g., firefighter, police offer, EMT, etc.);
- Vehicular homicide;
- Vessel homicide;
- First-, second- or third-degree murder;
- Assisting self-murder; and
- Killing an unborn child by injuring the mother.
Manslaughter Charges in St. Petersburg
Manslaughter is an accidental killing, one that didn’t involve premeditation. There are two general types of manslaughter charges.
- Involuntary Manslaughter — This refers to a killing that arises from negligence. An example of when this type of charge might apply is when a driver kills someone as a result of driving under the influence or when a carnival ride operator fails to check the harness on a ride and someone is killed as a result.
- Voluntary Manslaughter — Voluntary manslaughter is technically not accidental, but it occurs as a result of a sudden provocation, such as one that might occur in the heat of passion.
Penalties for manslaughter vary. Second-degree manslaughter may result in up to 15 years of imprisonment whereas aggravated or first-degree manslaughter may result in 30 years.
Murder Charges in St. Petersburg
Murder is unlawful killing categorized by the circumstances surrounding the event. For example, the state might charge you with first-degree murder if the killing occurred while a serious felony was committed, such as armed robbery. Second-degree murder charges might be applicable if the murder was not premeditated but showed a blatant disregard for life.
Penalties are harsh and enduring in the state. For instance, second-degree murder, a first-degree felony, can mean up to 30 years of imprisonment. Likewise, first-degree murder, considered a capital felony in Florida, has a maximum penalty of death.
Obtaining a Strong Legal Defense
Let Goldman Wetzel review your case, begin collecting evidence, and work on building your defense. Possible defenses may include:
- Mistaken identity — actual innocence;
- Justifiable homicide, e.g., you were acting in self-defense;
- Heat of passion;
- Insanity; and
- Lack of knowledge that your acts put someone in danger.
It will be our aim to represent you fairly and determinedly and try to break apart the prosecutor’s case. We will use our available resources and push for the best resolution for your case, whether that means mitigated charges, reduced penalties or an acquittal. Contact us today.