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Homicides in Florida

  • By:David Vitola

In 2018, there were over 1000 murder offenses reported in Florida. A murder offense, as defined by the Florida Uniform Crime Reports, is the willful killing of one human being by another. This includes both murder and nonnegligent manslaughter. Such terms as murder and manslaughter can be confusing considering they are often used interchangeably in everyday vocabularies. However, the one thing that truly separates the two terms in Florida is what is called the “mental state” of the perpetrator of the crime.

In Florida, the law punishes the “mental state” of a perpetrator when it is paired with a death that they cause. This is how criminal responsibility can be imposed on a perpetrator. The following “mental states” can be used to impose liability if the perpetrator possesses it at the time they cause the death of another:

  1. Specific Premeditated Intent to Kill (premeditated murder)

  2. Reckless and Wanton Disregard, Depraved Mind (second-degree murder)

  3. Specific, Non-Premeditated, Unjustified, Intent to Kill (voluntary manslaughter)

  4. Culpable Negligence (involuntary manslaughter)

  5. Gross Negligence (civil liability only)

  6. Ordinary Negligence (civil liability only).

Homicide then, as many people understand it, can only be proven if a perpetrator is shown to have premeditated the killing that they commit. This is known in Florida as a first-degree murder. However, even if someone did not premeditate a killing, they can still be liable for second-degree murder. Voluntary manslaughter is typically a more sudden occurrence that leads to the death of another. Involuntary manslaughter is also known as negligent homicide and is usually committed by someone whose extreme negligence causes the death of another. All these different types of homicide have their own definitions that we will explore in future blogs. We hope that this series of blogs will  introduce you to these concepts and provide clarity to this often confused but ever so popular type of law.

If you or your loved one need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, get the experience you deserve and call John today at 352-796-1390.

Posted in: Criminal Defense

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