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Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / What Charges Might I Face if I Kill Someone in Fort Lauderdale?

What Charges Might I Face if I Kill Someone in Fort Lauderdale?


Taking someone else’s life is a serious crime in Florida. We do not need written laws to understand the seriousness of this situation – and facing charges can seem quite daunting. However, not all deaths result in the same criminal charges. For example, your actions may have led to an accidental death – and this situation is viewed differently compared to intentional homicide in Fort Lauderdale. Here are the various charges you might face if you take someone else’s life in Florida:

First-Degree Murder 

First-degree murder is a type of homicide, and this is the most serious charge you may face after taking someone’s life. First-degree murder is an intentional killing. It involves prior thought or planning – also known as “premeditation.” If you had a chance to stop and think about your actions and you carried out a murder anyway, you will likely face first-degree murder charges. In Florida, this crime leads to either life imprisonment or the death penalty. If you are given a life sentence, there will be no possibility of parole.

Second-Degree Murder 

Second-degree murder is a lesser homicide offense. You may face this offense if you had no time to think about your actions before carrying them out. In other words, you took someone’s life in the “heat of the moment.” You might also face second-degree murder charges if you acted with reckless disregard for human life and caused an accidental death in the process. Perhaps most notably, the prosecution does not need to prove premeditation in order to convict you of second-degree murder. If convicted, you will face over 16 years in prison for second-degree murder with no possibility of parole.

Third-Degree Murder 

You may face third-degree murder charges if you cause an accidental death while carrying out a nonviolent felony. For example, you might accidentally hit a pedestrian while fleeing from the police after a burglary. While the penalty for third-degree murder is not as serious as the other two degrees, you will still spend at least a decade in prison if convicted.


If you kill someone accidentally, you will likely face manslaughter charges. Voluntary manslaughter occurs in the heat of the moment – but without any premeditation. Involuntary manslaughter occurs when your negligent actions cause someone to die. Manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Florida which leads to up to 15 years in prison.

Can I Get Homicide Charges Reduced in Florida? 

If you can show that your actions were accidental or reckless instead of intentional, it is possible to reduce the most serious homicide charges to lesser offenses. For example, your criminal defense lawyer might help you get a second-degree murder charge reduced to voluntary manslaughter.

Find a Qualified Homicide Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale 

If you’ve been charged with homicide, it makes sense to get in touch with a qualified, experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer at your earliest convenience. With help from Haber Blank, you can pursue the most positive outcomes possible. There are many possible charges associated with taking someone’s life, and it might be possible to have homicide charges reduced to less serious offenses. Book your consultation today to learn more.




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