Homicide is a term familiar to most people, but in Florida, homicide covers a wide range of crimes. Homicide is considered the ultimate crime, and can be punishable by the ultimate punishment. Simply put, homicide involves taking the life of another person through a number of direct or indirect means. Homicide has been the defining topic for many true and fictional stories over the ages, and become a main theme in the world of crime and justice. With all the pressures we face today, and as a result of the influences popular media culture has had on us, it can be easy to get carried away in a moment of passion. At times, you may end up causing harm to someone completely unintentionally. Through no fault of your own, you may find yourself or someone you care about being involved in a homicide investigation as the main suspect. A connection with anyone who has been murdered is likely to put you or someone you know in the suspect pool. In this kind of situation, you do not have time to wait around for the investigation to proceed without being informed of the process. In fact, it is the right time to get yourself an experienced and skilled Broward criminal lawyer if you even believe you are a suspect to a homicide crime. Hiring an aggressive Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney who is willing to go the extra mile and fight your case in court is one of the best steps you can take to be assured of the best defense possible.
Types of Homicide Crimes:
Generally speaking, homicide crimes are divided into the following categories:
- First Degree Murder: First degree murder includes premeditated murder, which is the intentional killing of another person with premeditated thoughts or actions. First degree murder also includes felony murder, which is the killing of someone intentionally or unintentionally during the commission of a felony.
- Second Degree Murder: If someone is killed by a dangerous act committed by a person, it usually falls into the second degree murder category. This charge is extremely serious as well, and establishes that the person committing the act demonstrated a serious disregard to human life.
- Third Degree Murder: If someone is unintentionally murdered during the commission of a non violent felony or an attempted non violent felony, it usually falls into this category.
- Manslaughter: A person can be charged with manslaughter if another individual is killed intentionally without premeditated design or due to negligence. In the state of Florida, manslaughter includes:
– Manslaughter by act which is neither excusable nor justified and results in the death of another person
– Manslaughter by procurement which involves encouraging another person to perform an act that leads to their death
– Manslaughter by Culpable Negligence which involves negligible conduct that leads to the death of another person
- DUI Manslaughter: A person can be convicted of DUI manslaughter if they cause the death of another individual while operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08 or if their faculties are impaired due to being intoxicated.
- Vehicular Homicide: As its name suggests, this category may include cases where a person driving recklessly or aggressively cause the death of someone while operating a vehicle.
Defense Against Homicide Charges:
Generally speaking, there are two major defense strategies against homicide charges. The first involves following a claim that the defendant in question did not commit the act of homicide. The second involves admitting to the act but getting the charges reduced to a level that falls outside the capital felony category of premeditated first degree murder. Depending on the charges brought up against you, an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney may make either of the recommendations for your case.
Here is a brief overview of what both options look like – remember that this is by no means a comprehensive guide to what your defense strategy should be, so be sure to contact a criminal defense lawyer before making a decision:
- Justifiable Homicide or Affirmative Defense:
If a homicide is carried out as an act of self defense or for the defense of others due to a reasonable fear of death or seriously bodily harm, the charges may end up being dropped or reduced. Using self defense in order to justify the act of homicide is also known as an “affirmative defense”. In this case, the burden to prove a reasonable action due to self defense lies with the criminal defense attorneys representing the defendant.
- The Castle Doctrine:
The Castle Doctrine allows a person on their own property to use deadly force in order to prevent an intruder from committing a felony on them.
- Excusable Homicide:
A homicide is termed excusable if the person who committed the act was a continuous victim of domestic battery. The term also applies to cases where a legally insane person commits the act of murder.
- Exercise of Duty:
A homicide by a law enforcement officer where the other person posed a serious threat to the officer or the general public falls under this category.
Why You Should Consider Hiring a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer:
Now, you may believe from watching movies or TV shows that hiring a lawyer is always seen as an admission of guilt. This could not be further from the truth. However, here are a few factors that may help you make a more informed choice based on the seriousness of the situation and the penalties associated with it:
- Right to Representation:
The United States constitution gives every citizen the right to representation under the sixth amendment. This means that if you or someone you know has been accused of any crime, including homicide, you are entitled to an attorney for your defense. This means that it is your fundamental right to have an attorney present with you at every stage of the process.
- If You Cannot Afford an Attorney, One Will Be Appointed for You:
The sixth amendment also makes room for your attorney to be appointed by the state if you cannot afford one.
- Right to Adequate Representation:
Another important right every person accused of a serious crime like homicide has is the right to adequate representation. Simply put, this means that the attorney representing the case on behalf of the defendant must be competent and skilled. He or she must make realistic and tangible efforts in order to represent the client and make good faith efforts to defend the case.
- Benefits of Hiring an Attorney Early On:
Statistics show that hiring an attorney as soon as you or someone you know is presented with serious criminal charges will have a positive effect on the case. It may also make it more likely to achieve a favorable outcome as compared to a situation where an attorney isn’t brought in until the very last moment.
- A Good Attorney Will Ensure Your Rights Aren’t Violated:
When you hire a qualified Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney he or she will do everything possible to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process. This includes humane treatment during any detention, maintaining a secure chain of custody during handling and processing evidence, and ensuring due process for each aspect in the case.
Benefits of Strong Legal Representation:
An experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer will take care of all of the above responsibilities and do more as well. Here are a few benefits you can expect from strong legal representation of your case:
- Your Case Will Be Reviewed in Detail:
First of all, a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer will know every aspect of the process and be able to effectively analyze the evidence and charges against you. He or she may be able to get evidence disqualified if the proper rules have not been followed in its collection or analysis. Your attorney will also interview witnesses and verify their versions of the incident in order to establish a complete timeframe of the event.
- An Independent Investigator May Follow Up on the Details:
Another major benefit of hiring the services of a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer is the access to greater legal resources. Criminal defense attorneys may hire the services of a private investigator who will review the entire case, get in touch with witnesses, review security tapes, and perform other duties in order to verify the details of the event. This could potentially help tilt the balance in your favor and culminate in a positive outcome for your case.
- Hiring a Reputable Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney Will Go a Long Way:
A reputable Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer will enthusiastically and aggressively fight your case in front of a judge and jury. He or she may make arguments that make it possible for you to be released on bail with specific conditions. Your attorney may also be able to push for a more favorable outcome in your case. Vigorous representation during the initial stages of investigation will also ensure that none of your rights are infringed upon, and that the investigating agencies follow their own procedures and regulations.
Move Quickly and Make a Decision Now:
If you or someone you know has been charged with homicide in the Fort Lauderdale area, your first priority should be to hire a Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney. The attorneys of Pagan & Stroleny, P.L. provide the highest possible standard of representation possible. Being involved in a homicide investigation is no joke, and any mistake along the way by the investigators, witnesses, or defendant could mean a long legal battle that could last for years. Get in touch with a Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney today to ensure that none of your rights are violated and you have a compelling case ready for court, (954) 256-1464.