Largo, FL—The main difference between first- and second-degree murder is the intent behind the killing. When an individual is accused of committing first-degree murder, it is usually because they planned the killing of another. In other words, the murder was premeditated. For example, if someone were to invite another person over knowing their intent wasn’t to converse but instead, was to commit murder, they would be charged with the crime in the first degree as it was planned out.
Second-degree murder, on the other hand, isn’t premeditated. If an individual engages in behavior that is considered “imminently dangerous to another” and they show no regard for human life, they are guilty of second-degree murder if they take someone’s life.1 For example, if a multiple DUI offender decided to drive drunk knowing their actions could severely injure or kill another and it does, they could be charged with second-degree murder.
Another example of second-degree murder is when an individual fires a deadly weapon without the intent to kill but the individual passes away as a result.
Penalties for First-and Second-Degree Murder in Florida
First-degree murder is considered a capital felony which is punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Second-degree murder is considered a felony of the first degree which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life. Both crimes carry additional penalties, however, prison time is generally the most concerning of them all.
Can a defendant fight a murder charge?
It is possible to fight a murder charge if an individual didn’t commit the crime they were accused of. For instance, if an individual was defending themselves as they feared for their life but were charged with second-degree murder, they can retain a Largo, FL criminal defense attorney to represent their case and defend their rights.
Individuals who have been charged with first- or second-degree murder should consider retaining a criminal defense lawyer in Largo if they want to stand a chance at getting their charges reduced. In some cases, the prosecutor may be willing to offer a plea deal with the defendant in exchange for a guilty plea or something else. The plea deal may lower the crime to a less serious degree which also reduces the penalties they will face.
If an individual was charged with first-or second-degree murder in Largo and they are looking for a FL criminal lawyer who will help understand their rights and fight for a fair outcome, they can contact Trevena | James, Attorneys At Law.
With its office based in Largo Florida, Trevena | James, Attorneys At Law primarily practices in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco County, and throughout the state of Florida.
Trevena | James, Attorneys At Law is located at:
801 W Bay Drive, Suite 509
Largo, FL 33770