(NB: The following was stolen completely from the website of Richard Hornsby, a board certified criminal trial attorney in Florida. If you need a criminal attorney may I suggest contacting Richard. By making this suggestion I'm hoping he may be more willing to go easy on me for stealing his stuff.)
Second Degree Murder in FloridaIf accused of Second Degree Murder in Florida, you need to know the:
- Definition of Second Degree Murder
- Penalties for Second Degree Murder
- Defenses to Second Degree Murder
Definition of Second Degree MurderThe crime of Second Degree Murder occurs when a person commits either:
Murder with a Depraved MindMurder with a Depraved Mind occurs when a person is killed, without any premeditated design, by an act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind showing no regard for human life.
The primary distinction between Premeditated First Degree Murder and Second Degree Murder with a Depraved Mind is that First Degree Murder requires a specific and premeditated intent to kill.
Accomplice Felony MurderAccomplice Felony Second Degree Murder occurs when you are an accomplice to a person who kills another human being while engaged in the commission, or attempted commission, of the following statutorily enumerated felonies, regardless of whether they intended the death:
- Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult,
- Aggravated child abuse,
- Aggravated stalking,
- Aircraft piracy,
- Distribution of Controlled Substances
- Home-invasion robbery,
- Murder of another human being,
- Resisting Officer with Violence,
- Sexual battery,
- Trafficking in Controlled Substances, or
- Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.
Penalties for Second Degree Murder
The crime of Second Degree Murder is classified as a First Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 10 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.If convicted of Second Degree Murder, a judge is required to impose a minimum prison sentence of 16¾ years in prison and can impose any additional combination of the following penalties:
- Up to Life in prison.
- Up to Life on probation.
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
Defenses to Second Degree MurderIn addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Second Degree Murder are:
Excusable HomicideThe killing of a human being is excusable, and therefore lawful, under any one of the following three circumstances:
- When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent, or
- When the killing occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or
- When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.