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What are the different degrees of murder?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2022 | Criminal charges

Not all murder charges are the same. They vary in seriousness and carry different sentences. If you are charged with murder, you are probably aware of the level of the charges you face. This is a crucial part of your case, and it will influence the final sentence if you are found guilty.

The severity of murder charges is classified in degrees, as detailed below:

First-degree murder

First-degree murder is the most serious. It is usually premeditated, meaning that you intended to kill the victim and planned the murder before executing it. In other words, first-degree murder is carried out purposefully, with or without reason.

Second-degree murder

With second-degree murders, you did not premeditate to kill, and that is what sets it apart from a first-degree charge. In other words, you had no prior intention of killing the victim, but you acted in a way that disregards human life, leading to their death. It means that your actions were meant to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to the victim, but you had not planned to carry them out.

Third-degree murder

Third-degree murders charges mean that you had no intention, and your actions were not meant to cause death or grave harm. For instance, if you are drunk driving and fatally hit a pedestrian, you could face third-degree murder charges if this was your first DUI case.

All these charges are serious and carry hefty punishments under Florida laws. For example, you could be facing the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole for a conviction of murder in the first degree and 15 years for a third-degree murder charge.

Therefore, no matter the degree of your murder charges, it is necessary to be well informed on what lies ahead and the viable defense strategies available for your case. That way, you will be better placed to protect your rights and ensure the trial concludes favorably.