Homicide is the killing of one human being by another human being. As a Gainesville murder defense attorney understands however, not every homicide constitutes an illegal act. Under Florida law, there are two separate homicide offenses involving illegal killings:
The Concept of Malice
To be guilty of a crime, a person must have committed a certain act with the requisite intent. An illegal killing done with malice will be charged as murder; without malice, manslaughter. Malice can be defined by a Gainesville murder defense attorney as purposefully killing a person or killing out of ill will or hatred.
A killing done with malice is murder. Florida law categorizes murder as either:
- First degree murder; premeditated murder or murder committed in the act of a specified type of felony
- Second degree murder; committed not with premeditation but with evidence of a depraved mind that disregards human life or as an accomplice in a felony murder
- Third degree murder; committed in the commission of a non-violent felony
Manslaughter is classified as either:
- Voluntary manslaughter; a killing by committing an intentional negligent act
- Involuntary manslaughter; a killing by committing a recklessly negligent act
As a Gainesville manslaughter defense lawyer can best explain, the intentional negligent act in a voluntary manslaughter is not the intent to kill, but the intent to do the act which resulted in the killing.
In most cases, a defense to either murder or manslaughter will be based on one the following:
- Excusable homicide; circumstances include a true accident where no unlawful activity was occurring and the people involved were using reasonable caution or what is considered a heat of passion or sudden provocation incident
- Justifiable homicide; where the person is resisting an attempt of another to kill them
- Self-defense; a person may use force, perhaps deadly force, to protect themselves, their property or another person as long as the force is proportionate to the threat they face
Contact a Gainesville Manslaughter Defense Lawyer for Legal Advice
If you have been charged with a crime, you need to understand and assert your legal rights. Call Attorney Rick Mercure at (352) 222-2047 for a free, confidential case evaluation.