In Florida, murder is classified into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree murder depending on the intent of the perpetrator and, generally speaking, whether they were involved in the commission of other crimes at the same time. Murder is always a felony but, depending on the facts and circumstances, can be punishable by up to death and, at a minimum, 15 years in Florida State Prison.

 

Capital Murder

If the State will be seeking the death penalty, the prosecutor must give notice to the defendant and file the notice with the court within 45 days after arraignment. The notice must contain a list of the aggravating factors the state intends to prove and has reason to believe it can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The court may allow the prosecutor to amend the notice upon a showing of good cause.

 

The killing of another human being is punishable by death if it is:

  • perpetrated from a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or any human being; or
  • committed by a person engaged in the perpetration of, or in the attempt to perpetrate, any:
    1. Trafficking in narcotics prohibited by s. 893.135(1),
    2. Arson,
    3. Sexual battery,
    4. Robbery,
    5. Burglary,
    6. Kidnapping,
    7. Escape,
    8. Aggravated child abuse,
    9. Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult,
    10. Aircraft piracy,
    11. Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb,
    12. Carjacking,
    13. Home-invasion robbery,
    14. Aggravated stalking,
    15. Murder of another human being,
    16. Resisting an officer with violence to his or her person,
    17. Aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death,
    18. Felony that is an act of terrorism or is in furtherance of an act of terrorism, including a felony under s. 775.30, s. 775.32, s. 775.33, s. 775.34, or s. 775.35,
    19. Human trafficking; or
    20. Which resulted from the unlawful distribution by a person 18 years of age or older of any of the following substances, or mixture containing any of the following substances, when such substance or mixture is proven to be the proximate cause of the death of the user:
      1. A substance controlled under s. 893.03(1);
      2. Cocaine, as described in s. 893.03(2)(a)4.;
  • Opium or any synthetic or natural salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium;
  1. Methadone;
  2. Alfentanil, as described in s. 893.03(2)(b)1.;
  3. Carfentanil, as described in s. 893.03(2)(b)6.;
  • Fentanyl, as described in s. 893.03(2)(b)9.;
  • Sufentanil, as described in s. 893.03(2)(b)30.; or
  1. A controlled substance analog, as described in s. 893.0356, of any substance specified in sub-subparagraphs a.-h.

 

Second-Degree Murder

 

Second-degree murder is classified as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison, if it is an 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.

When a human being is killed during the perpetration of, or during the attempt to perpetrate, any of the following offenses, it will also be classified as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison, if it is committed by a person other than the person engaged in the perpetration of or in the attempt to perpetrate such felony:

  • Trafficking offense prohibited by s. 893.135(1),
  • Arson,
  • Sexual battery,
  • Robbery,
  • Burglary,
  • Kidnapping,
  • Escape,
  • Aggravated child abuse,
  • Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult,
  • Aircraft piracy,
  • Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb,
  • Carjacking,
  • Home-invasion robbery,
  • Aggravated stalking,
  • Murder of another human being,
  • Aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death,
  • Resisting an officer with violence to his or her person, or
  • Felony that is an act of terrorism or is in furtherance of an act of terrorism, including a felony under s. 775.30, s. 775.32, s. 775.33, s. 775.34, or s. 775.35.

 

Third-Degree Murder

It is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State Prison, if the unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated without any design to effect death, is committed by a person engaged in the perpetration of, or in the attempt to perpetrate, any felony other than any:

  • Trafficking offense prohibited by s. 893.135(1),
  • Arson,
  • Sexual battery,
  • Robbery,
  • Burglary,
  • Kidnapping,
  • Escape,
  • Aggravated child abuse,
  • Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult,
  • Aircraft piracy,
  • Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb,
  • Unlawful distribution of any substance controlled under s. 893.03(1), cocaine as described in s. 893.03(2)(a)4., or opium or any synthetic or natural salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium by a person 18 years of age or older, when such drug is proven to be the proximate cause of the death of the user,
  • Carjacking,
  • Home-invasion robbery,
  • Aggravated stalking,
  • Murder of another human being,
  • Aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death,
  • Resisting an officer with violence to his or her person, or
  • Felony that is an act of terrorism or is in furtherance of an act of terrorism, including a felony under s. 775.30, s. 775.32, s. 775.33, s. 775.34, or s. 775.35.

 

Expert Criminal Defense

If you or a loved one are facing a murder charge, it is extremely serious and a charge that needs expert representation. Adam Bantner is board certified as an expert in criminal trial law by the Florida Bar. Call him today at 813.397.3965 to set up your free consultation / case review!

0/5 (0 Reviews)