Last week, a 23-year-old man turned himself in for the alleged killing of a Florida drug dealer. According to a report by WOKV, the man approached the victim’s car, who was waiting outside a friend’s house, and inquired about purchasing drugs. The victim, in fact, did have drugs on him and told the man that he could sell them to him.
In the process of the drug deal, the man allegedly shot the victim several times. The victim was able to drive away, but the man pursued him, firing shots along the way. Eventually the victim’s car left the roadway and slammed into a nearby utility pole. When police arrived, the victim was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, which he later died from.
The 23-year-old man approached the dying victim’s car, took his watch, and then fled the scene. Less than one week later, her turned himself in to police. Although neither police nor prosecutors have disclosed how the man will be charged, it is very possible that he will face second-degree murder charges when he stands trial and face a potential of life in prison.
First-, Second-, and Third-Degree Murder Charges in Florida
Florida, like most other states, has several different classifications for murder, each with its own set of elements and punishments. All murder charges have some common elements that must be met in order for a defendant to be convicted of the offense. In Florida, the necessary elements for murder are:
- There must be a death;
- The death was caused by a criminal act committed by the defendant; and
- There was an unlawful killing of the victim by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.
From there, each of the three murder charges have different elements. For example, a first-degree murder charge is appropriate when the defendant has a premeditated plan to effectuate a murder. This may be as a part of a plan to commit another felony, such as a robbery, sexual assault, or escape from custody.
Second-degree murder charges are appropriate when, in the commission of one of several enumerated felonies, the defendant takes the life of another. This may not be the defendant’s intent. For example: a defendant is planning on robbing a bank, but not intending to kill anyone while doing it. However, a bank employee resists and is killed by the defendant. This defendant may be charged with second-degree murder because; although the defendant didn’t plan the killing, it was a result of his plan to commit a felony (bank robbery). A second-degree murder charge is not as serious as a first-degree murder charge and cannot result in a death sentence, however, it can result in a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Have You Been Charged with a Murder Offense in Florida?
If you have recently been accused of any type of murder offense in or around the Jacksonville area, you should immediately seek the counsel of an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney immediately. The difference in punishments between the various murder types can be great, and may mean the difference between a sentence of death or a term of years that will allows you to get out of prison eventually. The bottom line is that, no matter how serious the charge is, or how strong the evidence is against you, there is still a benefit to retaining a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney. The Forbess Law Firm is a preeminent Jacksonville criminal defense firm that ahs the experience and dedication needed to defend you against any criminal charge you may face. To contact the Forbess Law Firm, click here, or call 904-634-0900 today to schedule a free initial consultation.
See More Blog Posts:
Convicted Murderer Possibly Suffers From New Lethal Injection Concoction, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, October 24, 2013.
Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston Will Not Face Sexual Assault Charges, Jacksonville Criminal Attorney Blog, December 5, 2013.