Murder and manslaughter constitute two distinctive types of homicide, both of which can result in years of imprisonment upon conviction. Given the serious nature of these violent crimes, the state prosecutes murder and manslaughter cases to the fullest extent of the law. Furthermore, judges and juries often err on the side of the victim, making it challenging for defendants to get a truly objective hearing.

However, as someone accused of a crime, you have certain rights that the authorities must respect. For example, you have the right to an attorney, you have the right to a speedy trial, and you have the right to have an impartial jury decide your case.

At Goldman Wetzel, our criminal defense firm can help protect your rights, fight your charges, and work towards the best outcome possible. If you are facing accusations of murder or manslaughter in Florida, or if you are under investigation, seek legal defense straightaway. The more time we have to build a defense, the better. Call the criminal defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel today to discuss your case. We can review the facts, explain how we can help, and tell you more about the next steps in the process. Contact us at 727-828-3900 for a free consultation with a murder and manslaughter lawyer in Pinellas County.

What Types of Homicide Cases Does Goldman Wetzel Accept?

Attorneys Summer Goldman and Maribeth Wetzel have decades of combined experience in both prosecution and defense. We have managed serious felony charges in both state and federal courts, while gaining a wealth of defense tactics and knowledge about successfully navigating the criminal justice system.

We work together on each case we accept, providing our clients with well-rounded, effective defense. We have the skills and resources to handle even the most dire charges. Some of the types of homicide cases we accept include:

  • Involuntary manslaughter;
  • Justifiable use of deadly force;
  • Excusable homicide;
  • Murder;
  • Attempted felony murder;
  • Manslaughter;
  • Aggravated manslaughter;
  • Vehicular or vessel homicide;
  • Assisting self-murder;
  • Killing of an unborn child by injury to the mother; and
  • Unnecessary killing to prevent an unlawful act.

What Are the Penalties for Murder and Manslaughter in Florida?

The penalties for homicide cases depend on the type and category of the charge.

Penalties for Manslaughter

Per Florida Statute 782.07, the state defines manslaughter as “the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another.” It is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If the victim of manslaughter was an elderly person or disabled adult, the state will escalate the charge to aggravated manslaughter, which is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Penalties for Murder

When the investigators believe the defendant committed premeditated homicide, the crime occurred while the defendant was carrying out another serious felony, or it resulted from controlled substances, the prosecutor will seek to charge the defendant with murder in the first degree. Murder in the first degree is a capital felony, punishable by either a life sentence or death.

Florida Statute 782.04 defines murder in the second degree, a lesser charge, as “the unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual.” This constitutes a first-degree felony, punishable by life imprisonment.

What Are the Possible Defenses for Murder and Manslaughter Charges?

There are both negative and positive defenses to murder and manslaughter charges. A negative defense presupposes true innocence, whereas a positive defense asserts that the killing did not constitute a crime or that the penalties the state is pursuing are excessive.   

Of course, each case is unique and we will develop a strategy based on your specific circumstances. Examples of defenses we may utilize for murder or manslaughter charges include the following:

  • Mistaken identity;
  • Self-defense, also known as Stand Your Ground;
  • Insanity;
  • Intoxication;
  • Lack of intent; and
  • Excusable homicide, if the crime was an accident or happened during the heat of passion.

The prosecutor must prove a list of certain elements to obtain a conviction. With some murder cases, the state’s case is simply too weak or does not involve any credible witnesses. If we cannot settle the case in the pre-trial phase, we will work to break apart the state’s case, pointing out holes in the evidence or testimonies during trial.

How Can Goldman Wetzel Help With My Homicide Case?

At Goldman Wetzel, we understand the gravity of homicide cases and how devastating a conviction would be. Our goal will be to obtain a dismissal or acquittal, a plea bargain, or lesser charges and penalties on your behalf. During the entire process, our defense lawyers will fight for your best interests and make every effort to secure a positive outcome for your homicide case.

When we first begin working with you, we will explain exactly what you are up against and we will make sure you understand your legal choices. After carefully weighing the options with you, we will counsel you on the best way to proceed. Once retained, we will spring into action and begin preparing your case. This may include working with forensic experts, speaking to witnesses, filing motions, and other pre-trial tasks.

There are various ways to approach murder or manslaughter charges. We may try to secure a deal with the prosecutor for lesser charges or penalties. In other situations, we may identify key errors or gaps in the state’s case and start preparing for trial. We always bring our A-game in the court room. Rest assured, we will comb through the state’s evidence, depositions, and testimonies, rebut any inconsistencies, and offer evidence to support your story.

Protect Your Future. Call Our Criminal Defense Team in Pinellas County Today.

Goldman Wetzel can provide the legal defense you need when you or your loved one is facing serious charges like murder or manslaughter. Let our criminal defense lawyers in Pinellas County review your case and determine if we can help. Contact Goldman Wetzel today at 727-828-3900.

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