The sanctity of life has been recognized in most if not all jurisdictions all over the world. In fact, the right to life is considered a fundamental freedom that is guaranteed to all without discrimination. For this reason, the government, through the criminal justice system, has put in place all measures to ensure this right is safeguarded. At the same time, it imposes stringent penalties on offenders who have contravened the law in relation to this right.
Murder charges are primarily initiated against a person who takes away the life of another person. Closely related to this charge are attempted murder charges which also have serious implications on the offender’s life. Stated simply, Florida’s courts have adopted a stringent approach when interpreting attempted murder charges in this jurisdiction. This means that you are likely to face stringent penalties in the event that you are convicted successfully.
That said, here’s what you need to know about attempted murder charges in Florida, the potential penalties accompanying the charge and how a criminal defense attorney at the Meltzer & Bell law firm can help you avoid conviction.
Attempted Murder Charges in Florida: The Legal Basis
Florida statute 782.04(3) defines attempted murder to constitute the perpetration or attempt to perpetrate any felony enumerated under the provision as well as aiding, abetting or commission of an intentional act that is not an essential element of the felony and that could but does not, result in the death of another person.
From the definition contemplated under section 782.04(3) of the Florida statute, it is clear that the charge is broad and intentionally open. Consequently, the charge is open to various forms of interpretation and can be prosecuted in multiple ways. Essentially, this means that a slight involvement in the commission of the crime can be termed as either aiding or abetting attempted murder, and you could be prosecuted along with the primary offenders.
How is Attempted Murder Classified in Florida?
Although attempted murder is considered a felony in Florida, it can be classified into two categories which include first-degree attempted murder and second-degree attempted murder. This classification is based on the facts and circumstances underlying the offense.
First-Degree Attempted Murder
The prosecution may charge you and find you guilty of First-Degree murder if they can prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:
- Your acts against the alleged victim were premeditated
- You knowingly and purposely committed acts to cause but didn’t cause a person’s death.
Noteworthy is that the prosecution can only sustain the charge under this classification if they can demonstrate that the acts were premeditated and intended to cause death.
Second Degree Murder
The prosecution will proceed with a charge of attempted murder in the second degree if they don’t have sufficient proof that attempted murder was premeditated. Typically this can happen if:
The defendant injured another person in an act that could be construed as attempted murder, but they were not actually trying to commit murder
The defendant didn’t premeditate the attempted murder but acted in blatant disregard of the law concerning the sanctity of human life. At the same time, the act was unreasonably dangerous and could have caused death.
What are the Potential Penalties associated with an attempted murder charge in Florida?
Florida has one of the stringent penalties associated with attempted murder and murder charges. Although there the presumption of innocence exists, the prosecution often works on the presumption that the defendant has the intent to murder the alleged victim.
That said, the criminal penalties associated with the charge depend on the classification of the charge. Stated simply, first-degree attempted murder is punishable by:
On the other hand, a second-degree attempted murder charge is punishable by:
- Prison of up to 15 years
- Probation of up to 15 years
- Fine of up to $ 10,000.
That said, the criminal penalties associated with the charge can have severe consequences on your life. For this reason, if you are facing an attempted murder charge in Florida, you need to act promptly to avoid conviction. Quite frankly, you need a criminal defense attorney by your side to safeguard your rights and help you avoid conviction.
How can you fight an attempted murder charge in Florida?
Even if the charges seem to have merit, you can still avoid conviction. The presumption of innocence still applies, and you are eligible to have a defense counsel by your side. More importantly, your criminal defense attorney can fight the charges by invoking certain defenses applicable in your case.
Some of the common defenses applicable in an attempted murder case in Florida include:
- Self defense
- Lack of evidence
- You acted violently to defend others (defense of others)
- The defense of alibi
It is imperative to note that attempted murder is prosecuted aggressively in Florida. For this reason, you will need to seek legal counsel from a competent and qualified criminal defense attorney to help build a robust strategy to ensure that the charges are reduced or dropped altogether.
Should you hire an Attorney?
It is not uncommon for people facing criminal charges to defend themselves even though they have never interacted with the criminal justice system. However, when it comes to attempted murder charges, it is imperative to have a criminal defense attorney by your side.
Without a competent criminal defense attorney, you will face challenges navigating the criminal justice system. What’s more, you may have challenges dealing with the relentless prosecutors. Therefore having a competent attorney to prove your innocence cannot be emphasized more.
Essentially, an attorney at the Meltzer & Bell law firm will help you by:
- Gathering all the relevant evidence
- Coordinating witness depositions and calling on expert witnesses
- Build a robust defense
- Help you enter into a plea bargain agreement if necessary
Facing an attempted murder charge in Florida? Contact a Criminal defense attorney
An attempted murder charge can have serious consequences on your life. As such, if you are facing attempted murder charges in Florida, you need to act quickly to safeguard your rights, including your liberty.
An attorney at the Meltzer & Bell firm has experience handling criminal charges involving attempted murder in Florida and will work hard to ensure that the charges are reduced or dropped altogether. To achieve this, our attorneys will build the best defense possible geared towards impeaching the credibility of the prosecution’s evidence.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation.