Homicide is a significant offense. Regardless of the circumstances, even an accusation of homicide can lead to significant problems. If you have been accused of homicide of any kind, it is important that you take legal action to protect yourself as soon as possible.
If you wish to have any hope of avoiding a homicide conviction, jail time, and other penalties, you need to find a criminal attorney right away. A qualified attorney offers you the possibility of a lighter sentence or dropped charges. Without an attorney to represent you, you will likely face penalties, whether you committed the act or not.
Our firm is highly experienced in violent crime defense. We can offer you the best chance of winning your homicide case.
If you need criminal defense services in Naples, FL, our team at the Law Office of Donald P. Day is an excellent choice. With many years of experience in criminal law, our homicide lawyers have represented clients in extremely complicated situations. We know how to untangle the truth from your case and fight to maintain your innocence in court. No other Florida law firm can fight criminal charges the way that we can.
Everyone deserves access to high-quality legal representation from passionate attorneys. We fight diligently, day and night, to make sure that your story is heard in court. The prosecution would like to make your situation seem straightforward. However, we know that criminal cases are complex and worthy of care. This is why we work so hard to make sure that you have the best chance of winning your criminal defense case.
Homicide is a serious charge and requires serious legal representation. Our team at the Law Office of Donald P. Day is here to offer that representation to you.
Most people understand the basics of homicide from television, movies, and the news media. However, the details usually get lost in the dramatization of these platforms. If you or someone you love is facing a homicide charge, it is imperative that you understand the details so you know what to expect.
Homicide is an umbrella term to describe any situation in which one person kills another person. This includes:
Due to the numerous subcategories, facing a homicide charge can mean a variety of things, depending on the circumstances. Most criminal homicide cases result in either murder or manslaughter charges in Florida, though self-defense scenarios can sometimes result in a criminal trial.
Even if you have been falsely accused of a homicide offense, it is imperative that you get legal representation. Homicide charges will affect your entire life and future. You will have to serve time in prison if you are convicted. You will also face lifelong struggles to get a job, find housing, apply for credit cards, and more.
Although some companies hire individuals with convictions on their records, homicide convictions are different. Many companies will reject applicants with homicide convictions out of fear for their employees’ safety.
Because there are such extreme consequences to these convictions, you must take them seriously. Hiring a qualified attorney gives you the best chance of avoiding charges and clearing your name. With so much at stake, do not leave your fate to chance by representing yourself or using a public defender. Public defenders have large caseloads and very limited time to spend with each client. This makes it difficult for them to build a compelling case in your favor. Hiring your own defense attorney is imperative.
As mentioned, homicide can generally be split into two main categories: murder and manslaughter. It is important to understand both if you are facing homicide charges of any kind.
To be considered murder, certain conditions must be met. These conditions are:
If these conditions are met, a person can be charged with murder.
There are many different types of murder charges that range in severity, and all of them mean different things.
First-degree murder is considered the most serious type of charge. In these scenarios, the person thought about and planned the murder beforehand. In other words, first-degree murder is premeditated.
Second-degree murder is still serious but describes situations in which there is no evidence that the offense was premeditated. In these situations, the killer and victim are usually in a situation where the killer decides to intentionally kill the victim in the moment. However, they had not planned to beforehand.
Felony murders happen as a side effect or result of another felony offense. For example, if a person is robbing a bank and kills a pedestrian as they drive away, the killing would be considered felony murder.
Although it was neither premeditated nor intended, the killing happened as a side effect of another felony conviction. The offender consciously and intentionally committed a felony, knowing that it was dangerous and illegal. Therefore, the offender will be charged with murder instead of manslaughter if they kill someone in the process of committing a felony.
Malice aforethought is a necessary condition of a murder charge but is often misunderstood. This term describes a state of mind in which the killer had one of the following:
Premeditation is a common type of malice aforethought that most people understand.
Because murder is planned and thought out beforehand, it can be difficult to consider how you might defend against these charges if there is proof of premeditation. However, there are several options. When you work with your attorney, they will determine what defense is best in your situation.
If the offending party suffers from mental disorders, they can potentially use this as an excuse for their behavior. This requires proof of the mental disorder, and a suspect may be found “not guilty by reason of insanity.” Although this often exempts the individual from prison time, these individuals usually must go to a mental institution after their trial.
Although mental disorders are permanent and ongoing conditions, there are temporary mental impairments that may cause a person to commit murder. These include trauma to the head, mental illness, or intoxication in some cases. If you and your attorney successfully show that you were impaired, you may be acquitted or offered a lesser charge.
Because children and teenagers do not fully understand real-world consequences, being underage may afford them a lesser charge. However, this is not guaranteed. Many adolescents are tried as adults if they are old enough or clearly aware of how the world works.
In some situations, charges may be dropped if the offender acted in the heat of passion. For example, if you found out that your younger sibling was being sexually abused and you beat their abuser to the point of death, you may be able to argue that the offense happened in a “heat of passion.” Although you do not deny that you committed the act, your consequences may be reduced if you committed the act for an understandable reason.
The other major category of homicide is manslaughter. Although these convictions are serious and lead to severe punishments, they are considered slightly less serious than murder charges in most scenarios.
Manslaughter, at its core, is the killing of another human being without malice aforethought. There are many ways that this can occur.
This charge applies in situations in which one person kills another person because they are being criminally negligent or reckless. Criminal negligence occurs when a person ignores or fails to recognize the danger in a given situation that others would have noticed or acted upon. Involuntary manslaughter can also occur when the offender kills someone while committing a non-felony crime.
There are situations where a person does not intend to hurt or kill anyone. However, they are driving a vehicle with criminal negligence or while committing a misdemeanor, and they kill someone. This offense is called vehicular manslaughter. For example, if a driver accidentally kills a pedestrian while driving drunk, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
In some cases where there are mitigating circumstances, murder charges can be reduced to voluntary manslaughter charges. Mitigating circumstances include diminished capacity, heat of passion, etc.
It is important to note that intoxication does not work as a defense to manslaughter charges. A manslaughter charge does not require any premeditation. Therefore, intoxication does not change any of the requirements for these charges.
Murder is one of the most serious charges you can receive. If you are charged with homicide, contact one of our lawyers as soon as possible.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact the Law Office of Donald P. Day online.