Seminole County Homicide Defense Lawyer

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First-degree Murder in Florida

Generally, three factors need to be established for a murder to be considered first-degree:


  1. 1. Premeditation
  2. 2. Willfulness
  3. 3. Deliberation


The prosecutor will attempt to establish these elements by presenting evidence to corroborate the defendant’s intent to kill. First-degree murder is considered a capital felony and is punishable by the death penalty or up to life in prison. Some crimes are automatically first-degree murders, regardless of premeditation and deliberation:


  • • The killing of law enforcement officer


  • • The murder of a child with unreasonable force


  • • Homicides in tangent with other crimes, such as kidnapping, rape, arson or other violent crimes.

Excusable Homicide Defense in Florida

Per Florida Statute 782.03, an excusable homicide is the product of an accident or misfortune committed without any unlawful intent, or when resulting from an accident in the heat of passion. If you or someone you love was involved in an altercation where one of the below has occurred, then there may be sufficient defense to protect your rights and liberty under the law:


• A person killed by accident in the heat of passion after provocation

• A person killed by accident during a lawful act without any unlawful intent

• A person killed during a sudden fight without a weapon or in a cruel way

An expert attorney can skillfully point out scenarios like these as well as leverage other nuances in the law to help get your charges reduced and dropped altogether.


Legal Defenses for First Degree Murder in Florida

The two primary defenses for first-degree murder fall into whether the killing was intentional, or whether or not the defendant killed anyone at all. In the process of proving innocence or help reducing charges, these are some general defenses presented in court:

Per Florida Statute Chapter 776, an individual is justified in the use of deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use deadly force is required to prevent great bodily harm or to prevent imminent death. This justifiable use of deadly force also applies to the protection of others and as well as preventing a forcible felony such as sexual battery; aggravated battery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated stalking and other violent crimes. If you or someone you love has defended themselves from the risk of imminent death or other forcible felonies, then this legal defense may apply to you. Call our criminal defense attorney now at 407-865-8888 to discuss your case for free.

Innocent people without a legal defense often pay the largest price for a crime they never committed. In this modern age, false accusations spread quicker than ever and can ravage anyone’s life, at any time. A capable attorney will immediately challenge the validity of the prosecutor’s claims by leveraging evidence to prove their client wasn’t the one who committed the crime. 

Accidents happen, and in the spur of the moment, a sudden fight can end in an unintended death. Prosecutors can instead pursue an involuntary or voluntary manslaughter charge, but in some situations, the defendant is absolved with an excusable homicide. One of the fundamental differences between involuntary and voluntary manslaughter is whether the intent to kill in the spur of the moment can be established. A voluntary manslaughter is a killing in the heat of passion, with sufficient provocation, and must be determined that the homicide was intentionally committed.

When pleading insanity, the defendant might not understand the moral consequences of their actions, or have issues discerning right from wrong. This isn’t intended to clear the defendant’s actions, but instead to provide reasoning that the defendant is incapable of behaving in a sane matter. Pleading insanity is a difficult and rarely accepted defense that is left to the discretion of the court to grant admission to an institution or other sentencing.

Free Homicide Case Evaluation

If you or your loved ones have been accused of a homicide, remember a criminal charge does not necessarily turn into a conviction. Your rights and liberty are on the line, don't hesitate to get the best defense for your case. We offer affordable payment plans and complimentary consultations to accommodate towards your budget and needs. Call us now at 407-865-8888.

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The information found on The Law Offices of Matthews R. Bark is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any situation or individual case. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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