Many people wonder what the difference is between murder and manslaughter in Florida. The punishment for these two crimes is different, and many times people don’t realize there is a difference until it is too late. If you or someone you know has been charged with either of these crimes, it is important to understand the different penalties and why you need an attorney.
The punishment for first-degree murder in Florida is life imprisonment or death; second-degree murder carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years; and manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment. Obviously, these are all very serious penalties so it’s crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side who can help build a strong defense and get the best possible outcome for your case.
What Is The Difference Between Murder And Manslaughter In Florida?
According to Florida law, the key difference between murder and manslaughter are the intent and degree of culpability. Murder is defined as an unlawful killing with intent, malice aforethought and deliberation—which means the accused knew their actions would lead to death.
Manslaughter, on the other hand, does not require same level of intent. Depending on the circumstances, manslaughter can be committed by negligence or a crime of passion. In either case, punishment for a murder conviction generally has much harsher consequences than those for manslaughter—ranging from decades in prison to life behind bars; while manslaughter would only result in up to 15 years in prison.
Penalties for Murder and Manslaughter
There are three degrees of homicide in Florida: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter. First-degree murder is premeditated killing, meaning that the person accused planned to kill the victim ahead of time. Second-degree murder does not require premeditation but does require proof that the defendant showed a “depraved mind” when committing the act. Manslaughter, on the other hand, is accidental killing that occurs during the commission of another crime or in a fit of rage.
Punishments for murder and manslaughter differ greatly. Murder is considered a felony in the eyes of the law and is punished by either death or life imprisonment. On the other hand, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison or as little as probation. In both cases, individuals should seek legal counsel to ensure that they receive fair representation in court. Understanding the harsh consequences that come with being accused of either crime can be daunting, so consulting a lawyer is one of your best defenses against long-term penalties.
Why You Need an Attorney
People charged with either murder or manslaughter in the state of Florida should realize the seriousness of their legal situation and seek the assistance of an attorney. The experience and knowledge a lawyer can provide will prove invaluable when navigating a complex legal system - one that heavily distinguishes between murder and manslaughter, and will assign different punishments accordingly. Failing to secure proper legal representation could result in harsh sentence; it is therefore absolutely critical that people charged with these serious crimes seek appropriate counsel to reach the best possible outcome.
If you have been accused of murder or manslaughter, contact the Law Office of Armando J. Hernandez, P.A. as soon as possible.