2nd May 2016

Murder is the most serious crime that a South Florida criminal defense attorney can handle.  Being convicted of murder can result in life in prison or even being given the death penalty.  When a South Florida criminal defense attorney takes on a murder case, he or she examines it from all angles to devise an appropriate legal strategy.

Murder is defined under Florida law as the unlawful killing of a human.   There are different degrees of murder depending on the circumstances involved in the case.  First degree murder is the most serious criminal offense and requires showing that the murder is intentional and committed with premeditation.  First degree murder can also be charged if an accidental death occurs when the defendant is attempting to commit a different, serious offense, such as aggravated stalking or aggravated child abuse.

Second degree murder charges can arise when there was no intent.  Third degree charges may be filed when there was no intent or there was an accidental death that occurred during the commission of a crime not laid out in the more serious degrees.

Depending on the circumstances of the case, any number of defenses to the crime may exist.  One or more of the necessary elements of the murder charge may be missing.  The defendant may have been acting in self-defense when he or she fought off an attacker or was defending a loved one.  Many deaths are accidental in nature and do not occur when a serious crime as identified by federal law is being committed.  In other cases, murder may not be the appropriate charge when the homicide occurred as a result of the defendant being in the heat of passion or under extreme provocation by the decedent.

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