Third-Degree Murder Attorney in Tampa, FL
If you have been charged with third-degree murder, it means you are accused of killing someone during the commission of a felony. These are very serious charges that come with major mandatory prison time should you be convicted. Make sure you obtain experienced legal representation right away to begin building an aggressive defense.
If you or a loved one are facing third-degree murder charges in the Tampa, FL, area, call Armando Edmiston, an experienced Tampa third-degree murder criminal defense lawyer, today.
Third-Degree Murder: Homicide by Murder in Tampa, FL
Criminal homicide is the unlawful killing of one human being by another. The label covers everything from manslaughter to murder. First degree murder is the most serious type of criminal homicide; criminally negligent homicide is the least. The key difference between murder and other types of homicide is intent: Murder requires that the killer act with a heightened degree of culpability, also known as criminal state of mind. This means an intent to kill, a “depraved mind” demonstrating an extreme disregard for human life, or an intent to commit a felony during which a homicide happens to occur (regardless of whether the killing itself was intentional). Manslaughter, on the other hand, requires only reckless indifference to the safety of others or an intent to do something unlawful that happens to cause a death (but not intent to cause the death itself).
Third-Degree Murder: Felony Murder in Tampa, FL
Third-degree murder, for its part, has a very limited scope. It covers a final piece of the so-called felony murder rule, which punishes killings that occur during the commission of other felonies. The first two pieces of this rule are covered by first- and second-degree murder. First-degree murder applies the death penalty to an offender who kills while committing or attempting to commit one of several major felonies, most of them violent. Second-degree murder imposes a maximum of life in prison on an offender who commits or attempts to commit a violent felony during which one of her accomplices kills someone. The final piece of the felony murder rule is provided by the statute that covers third-degree murder. It is third-degree murder in Florida to kill another person while committing or attempting to commit a non-violent felony. This is a second-degree felony, punishable by as many as 15 years in prison. A person convicted of this crime will do almost all of her sentence, as the state imposes a mandatory minimum term of 10 years.
Third-Degree Murder: Defenses in Tampa, FL
There are several defenses to a charge of third-degree murder. Self defense, known in Florida as justifiable use of force, is an absolute defense as long as the force used was necessary and was proportionate to a threat posed by the person who was killed. The killing will be considered justified if the person who was killed posed an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm, or was engaged in the commission of a forcible felony such as rape or robbery. The same is true if the person who was killed was breaking into your home or was breaking into your car while someone was in it. There are also legal excuses for some killings, such as accident and provocation.