In Florida, there are three different types of homicides that fall under the definition of first-degree murder. There are felony and premeditated murder then that occur during the sale of illegal narcotics. First-degree felony murder is the most serious of all homicides and is the offense that is most likely to result in you receiving a guaranteed life sentence or capital punishment, the death penalty, if you’re convicted of such a crime.
An individual must have committed a homicide while attempting or actually in the process of committing another felonious offense such as kidnapping, rape, robbery or murder for prosecutors to move forward in charging a suspect with felony murder.
The state generally doesn’t have to be able to prove that a defendant committed the actual homicide to charge them with felony murder though. Prosecutors need only to show that the defendant intentionally participated in the underlying felony to file such charges against them.
Prosecutors must be able to prove that a defendant pre-planned the murder before carrying it out if they wish to be able to file premeditated murder charges against a defendant.
Premeditated murder is different from manslaughter. The latter is not a pre-planned crime. It’s instead a criminal offense in which a suspect kills someone else in the heat of the moment. An individual must intentionally plan the killing of another human being to be charged with premeditated murder.
Any defendant that kills someone else in the process of dealing and distributing an illegal controlled substance such as cocaine or heroin may be charged with drug-related capital murder.
Defendants can be charged with first-degree murder if their victim dies from an overdose after taking illegal drugs that they distributed to them as well.
There are mitigating factors that a defendant and their defense attorney can present at trial here in Clearwater that may result in them being acquitted on first-degree murder charges. You should be careful when selecting a capital murder attorney to represent your interests. Your lawyer should be quite experienced in defending clients facing similar charges if you want to achieve the best results in your Florida case.