There are a number of offenses in Florida that fall under the umbrella category of murder and homicide. As some of the most serious offenses under the criminal justice system, the possible penalties can include life in prison or the death penalty.
Murder charges include the most severe, Premeditated First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, and Felony Murder. First Degree Murder is the unlawful and premeditated killing of a human being. First Degree Murder is a Capital Felony, punishable by death or life in prison. Second Degree Murder is where a person is engaging in some act that is imminently dangerous, he shows a disregard for human life, and a person is killed as a result. Second Degree Murder is a first degree felony, punishable by life in prison. Felony Murder is a crime where a person is engaging in some other felony and a person is killed in the process, without any premeditation or design to kill. For instance, if a person is robbing a bank at gunpoint and the gun accidentally discharges, killing a security guard, the bank robber can be charged with felony murder. Felony Murder is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Any of the above-listed crimes of murder can be prosecuted as attempted murder if the person committing the act intends the action done, the action could have resulted in death, but the person failed or was prevented from killing the person. Generally, attempted murder is prosecuted as a lesser degree than murder since actual death did not result. Attempted murder can be anywhere from a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, to a life felony.
Manslaughter is killing a person by culpable negligence, without justification or excuse. It is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Culpable negligence is more than mere negligence. To be culpable negligence, the conduct must be gross and flagrant. Florida law defines culpable negligence as "consciously doing an act or following a course of conduct that the defendant must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily injury."
Vehicular Homicide is killing a person by operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, likely to cause death or great bodily harm. Vehicular homicide is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The penalty for vehicular homicide increases where the person fails to give aid or provide information if the person knew or should have known that the accident occurred. This increases the penalty to a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
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