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Seminole & Largo Injury Lawyers > Blog > Criminal > Defenses and Penalties For Murder In Seminole

Defenses and Penalties For Murder In Seminole


Florida has one of the highest murder rates in the country and the penalties upon conviction are severe. When facing these types of criminal charges in Pinellas County, you need an experienced Seminole criminal defense attorney on your side. The following details different classifications for murder, the penalties involved, and possible defenses that can be used in your case.

Murder Charges In Seminole

In situations where your actions or inactions result in the death of another, you can expect to face serious charges through the Pinellas County Criminal Court. The term ‘murder’ is often used in describing a broad range of crimes that result in death, but these are generally broken down into different categories:

  • First-degree murder: This is generally defined as the taking of a life in a willful and premeditated manner. It also includes cases in which death occurs during the commission of a violent felony crime, such as kidnapping or armed robbery.
  • Second-degree murder: This involves the taking of a life in which there is a general lack of premeditation.
  • Third-degree murder: This involves the inadvertant killing of another during the commission of a a non-violent felony crime, such as drug offenses.

With any of the above charges, the prosecution must prove that there was malice aforethought, which is the intention to either kill or harm another, in order to obtain a conviction. If there was no malice, ill will, or spite for the victim involved in the act, the charges will generally be reduced to manslaughter. These charges can fall into several categories, based on whether the death of another occurred as a direct result of your actions (voluntary manslaughter) or due to your inactions and neglect (involuntary manslaughter).

Disproving malice aforethought is a key part in Seminole murder cases. Penalties you face if you are convicted of murder and likely to be far more severe than those associated with manslaughter charges.

Defending Yourself Against Murder Charges In Seminole

Penalties for murder under the Florida Statutes involve heavy fines and lengthy prison sentences. The exact amount of time you are required to serve with depend upon the exact charges:

  • First-Degree Murder: As a capital felony in the state of Florida, first degree murder could result in a life sentence and possible death penalty;
  • Second-Degree Murder: Charged as a first degree felony, you could be facing between 25 years to life imprisonment.
  • Third-Degree Murder: This is considered a second-degree felony, resulting in a 15 year jail sentence.
  • Manslaughter: This is also classified as a second degree felony, with a mandatory minimum 10 year sentence.

Building a strong defense is key to protecting yourself against these penalties. In regards to murder, defenses may involve proving your innocence, asserting self-defense, or showing that the killing occurred by accident or in the heat of passion.

Let Us Help You Today

If you are facing murder or manslaughter charges, you need Reep Coleman & Stubbendorff on your side. To request a consultation, contact our Seminole criminal defense attorney today.

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