The terms Murder, Manslaughter, and, homicide can not only be concerning, but also confusing. When facing criminal charges for one or more of the above, you should ensure you have an experienced lawyer to piece together the evidence and facts needed to represent yourself fairly throughout the legal process.

The legal definition of homicide is when one person brings about another’s death. Murder is just another name for it. It happens when one person illegally kills another person.

The exact legal definition of murder differs by jurisdiction. Florida law defines murder as the unlawful killing of a person. Like many states, Florida differentiates between various degrees of murder. It also regards murder as a violent crime that is punished more harshly than any other crime.

First Degree Murder

What is First Degree Murder?

According to Florida law, first-degree murder is the most severe of the homicide criminal charges available. It is intended and planned. First-degree murders are premeditated killings, felony murders, and murders perpetrated during specific drug-dealing offenses.

Premeditated Killing

In Florida, a person can only be charged with first-degree murder based on a premeditated killing if the prosecutor indicates the defendant’s exact intention to kill. The prosecutor frequently must verify a beforehand strategy or scheme created to execute the homicide. To prove premeditation, the prosecutor might need to introduce evidence about the defendant’s actions or how he or she got ready for the killing.

Felony Murder

According to Florida law, a felony murder must be prosecuted. This results in a first-degree murder charge when the defendant perpetrates homicide while during the perpetration of a specific felony or an effort to execute a felony. State laws consist of a list of felonies that make a homicide eligible for first-degree murder. They are burglary, home-invasion robbery, kidnapping, a sex crime like sexual battery, and several others, as well as another individual’s murder. While the prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant meant to take part in the fundamental felony, the state can carry on with the charge although the defendant did not kill him or herself.

Murder Brought About by Drug-Dealing and Related Offenses-In Florida

Murder Brought About by Drug Dealing and Related Offenses-In Florida,
If murder is brought about by drug dealing and the illegal dispersal of controlled substances, it is specified as first-degree murder. The drug-related crimes must include controlled substances indicated by state law, as well as cocaine and opium. For instance, if a victim’s death is because of a drug overdose, the state may attempt to put the drug supplier on trial on a first-degree murder charge.

Elements of First-Degree Murder


The murder’s purpose must be established to be exact to terminate human life. This intent to kill does not essentially have to connect to a particular individual. It could be that the murderer had the intention of killing somebody, but because of numerous conditions, he or she wound up killing the wrong individual or a casual individual. Despite this, it would still be first-degree murder. In most states, killing or murder demonstrates that the killer disregarded human life. Proving this immoral apathy to human life is sufficient to confront first-degree murder charges in a few states.

Deliberation and Premeditation

This suggests that the murderer contemplated and meant to kill somebody. This consideration and preparation do not have to be meticulous or beforehand. If the court can establish that the culprit had sufficient time to contemplate why he or she wanted to kill and anticipate or question this intention but still decided to proceed, he or she can receive a first-degree murder charge.

The choice to kill can occur immediately. To be regarded as premeditated and deliberate, it must have happened before the person killing someone. Premeditation indicates that an individual’s actions were preplanned and considered beforehand; it was a purposeful and planned act to terminate someone else’s life.

Malice Aforethought

In most states, malice or malice aforethought must be established to clarify why the culprits of first-degree murder behaved as they did. States are subject to define malice as either an evil mindset or character or having a reason for killing and exhibiting apathy to human lives.

One state could view malice as premeditated murder or extreme disregard to human life, while another distinguishes between demonstrating malice and premeditation and deliberation of first-degree murder.

How is First-Degree Murder Punished?

In Florida, first-degree murder is a capital felony. As such, the state might seek the death penalty. If court proceedings at the sentencing phase result in a decision that the defendant should not get the death penalty, state law demands punishment of life in prison without the chance of parole.

This usually applies if another person perpetrates murder while the defendant commits any of the felonies indicated above.

Second Degree Murder

What is Second Degree Murder?

Second-degree murder is usually defined as deliberate, unpremeditated murder, is meant to bring about physical bodily injury, and shows an excessive apathy to human life. In Florida, its legal definition is the illegal killing of a person when committed by any act inevitably hazardous to another and showing a corrupt mind despite human life even though without any planned scheme to cause the demise of any specific person.  

While a few states do not utilize the word “second-degree murder,” they perhaps still split the crime of murder into two distinct degrees and enforce lesser sentences for the minor crime.  Florida law explicitly demands a second-degree murder charge if the victim perishes while a felony crime indicated by statute is being committed. These felonies consist of burglary, home-invasion robbery, and numerous other types of criminal offense. This is known as a non-premeditated murder while committing a felony.

Elements of Second-Degree Murder

To establish second-degree murder, a prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant behaved according to a corrupt mind despite human life. In Florida, second-degree murder can be prosecuted when the killing was unpremeditated or unplanned. Still, the defendant acted with hostility toward the victim, or they had a continuing interaction or relationship.

Second degree, unlike first degree, murder does not essentially demand evidence from law enforcement of the defendant’s intention to kill. In terms of a non-premeditated murder, while committing a felony, the prosecutor must prove second-degree murder by demonstrating that the victim perished because of an act perpetrated by someone who did not participate in the felony.

If the defendant or accomplice in the felony brought about the illegal killing, Florida law demands a first-degree rather than second-degree murder. In Florida, this law is used to discourage and penalize unintentional deaths due to criminal activities.

How is Second Degree Murder Punished?

In Florida, second-degree murder is a first-degree felony and is punished by life imprisonment or probation and a fine of $10,000. According to Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, second-degree murder is ranked Level 10 on the offense severity scale.

Lacking justifications for a sentence of downward departure, a judge must sentence an individual found guilty of second-degree murder to a minimum of 16.75 years of jail time but might also penalize the individual to the legal maximum sentence of life imprisonment. According to Florida’s 10-20-Life law, an individual who utilizes a gun to perpetrate second-degree murder must receive a required minimum prison sentence of twenty-five years.


If a person is charged with a crime, such as murder in Sarasota or Sarasota County, it is recommended that they go to a skilled criminal defense attorney for help. A criminal defense lawyer will engage in constructing a compelling defense for their client’s case, which might lead to removing the punishments being levied upon them.

When an individual is indicted for a crime, they have the best opportunity of getting acquitted by being prepared. Someone fighting criminal charges will have a better chance of being represented fairly if they hire a qualified criminal defense lawyer in sarasota immediately. Like any other lawyer, this individual will defend an individual’s rights and work relentlessly to attain the best possible result.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges and needs the services of an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney, contact Michael Fayard, Attorney at Law at 434 S Washington Blvd Ste. 200, Sarasota, FL 34236, or schedule an appointment via phone at (941) 306-1310.