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Homicide is defined by Florida law as the unlawful killing of a human being. Because homicides have such a variety of different motives and circumstances, the law separates the crime into several types and degrees of murder and manslaughter. Likewise, depending on the extent of malice in the case, the punishments can range from years in prison to a lifetime behind bars or even the death penalty.

Homicide is not a light charge. If you’re being accused of murder, you should seek the assistance of a qualified Florida violent crimes attorney as soon as possible. Musca Law can offer you more than 150 years of combined legal experience.

Get your defense started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!

Manslaughter vs. Murder

The thing that separates murder from manslaughter is intent or malice. If the charge is murder, the prosecution must prove the defendant intended to kill the victim or killed the victim out of ill will, spite, or hatred. In a manslaughter charge, the prosecution must only prove the defendant killed someone out of an intentionally or recklessly negligent act. The penalties for an intentional homicide are, of course, more severe.

Penalties for Murder

1st Degree Murder

If a person is accused of 1st-degree murder, this means authorities suspect a murder was either a premeditated or a felony murder. A premeditated murder happens when a person kills another human being in a pre-planned act or scheme. A felony murder occurs when one person kills another person while engaged in the commission or attempted commission of another felony, such as aggravated abuse, piracy, arson, or carjacking. The penalty for 1st-degree murder is death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

2nd Degree Murder

Murder in the 2nd-degree happens when a person commits either murder with a depraved mind or accomplice felony murder. Murder with a depraved mind occurs when a person is killed without any premeditated design in an act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind showing no regard for human life. For example, if someone is suffering from a psychological break from reality and commits a homicide, he or she might be convicted of 2nd-degree murder. Accomplice felony 2nd- degree murder happens when a person is an accomplice to someone who kills another human being while attempting to commit a felony. The penalty for 2nd-degree murder is life in prison, life on probation, and a $10,000 fine.

3rd-Degree Murder

This type of homicide happens when a person unintentionally kills another person while committing, or attempting to commit, a nonviolent felony. If convicted, the person accused of a 3rd-degree murder could face up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.


There are four different types of manslaughter a person could be charged with. Manslaughter by act, also known as voluntary manslaughter, occurs when someone commits an intentional act that was neither excusable nor justified and resulted in the death of another person. Manslaughter by procurement, also known as a type of voluntary manslaughter, includes persuading, inducing, or encouraging another person to commit an act resulting in the death of another person. Manslaughter by culpable negligence, also known as involuntary manslaughter, includes engaging in culpably negligent behavior that results in the death of another person.


Penalties depend on the circumstances, including whether or not a weapon was used and whether or not the act was voluntary or involuntary. Manslaughter is a 2nd-degree felony and can lead to a 15-year prison sentence, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. If the charge is manslaughter with a weapon or firearm, this would be considered a 1st-degree felony and would lead to a prison sentence of up to 30 years, a probation sentence of up to 30 years, and a $10,000 fine.

Vehicular Homicide

In cases involving the use of a car in the offense, the defendant might be charged with vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide happens when a person causes the death of another while operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm. It is considered a 2nd-degree felony and can lead to a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. However, if the person who committed vehicular homicide failed to provide their information or render aid at the crime scene, the offense is bumped up to a 1st-degree felony, which means a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, 30 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Call Our Skilled Attorney Today

A homicide charge is no laughing matter. Even the least severe offense will lead to years spent in jail and excessive fines. Likewise, a felony charge will end up on your permanent criminal record, which will make it harder for you to find employment and potential housing. Protect your rights and your freedom by calling our Florida criminal defense attorneys today. Musca Lawcan offer you fierce and dedicated advocacy. Our team has developed a reputation for excellence among our peers, prosecutors, and judges throughout south Florida. Let us see what we can do for you.

Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!

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