Murder in Florida is classified into several degrees depending on the facts of the case. Similarly, the potential punishment upon conviction is determined by the type of homicide one is convicted with and its specific requirements. First-degree murder is the most serious of them all and comes with the harshest penalties.

Statistically, most murder charges wouldn’t end up in a conviction if a seasoned defense team takes up the case. There are so many defenses that can be explored, depending on what transpired during the incident. The first thing that should ring in the mind of the accused person should be discussing everything with a trustworthy Tampa criminal defense attorney.

How Can One Defend Themselves Against First-Degree Murder Charges?

The easiest defense to first-degree murder is disputing the facts of the crime. And you can only take this approach when you understand the key elements of this type of crime.


First-degree murder is an implication that you planned to kill the victim. Therefore, the prosecution has to bring forth evidence showing that your specific intention was to kill someone.

To show that you premeditated the act, they need to show the steps you took to prepare for it. It doesn’t matter how long you took, as long as the evidence point at you scheming, designing, or planning the incident.

Death in a Felony

If a victim of a felony dies as a result of acts that transpired, the perpetrator of the felony can be charged with first-degree murder. However, one cannot be convicted unless the crime that led to the death falls within the felonies listed in the Florida murder statute.

You can rest easy if you didn’t commit aggravated stalking, carjacking, sexual battery, aggravated child abuse, robbery, kidnapping, arson, and burglary where someone ended up dying.

Now that you understand the real definition of first-degree murder, it will be much easier to figure out your defense options. And with the aggressive representation of a Tampa murder defense attorney, you can be assured of the best outcome for the murder charges.

How Can Persons Charged of Second-Degree Murder Defend Themselves?

For second-degree murders, premeditation is not required to convict you. What is necessary is an act that disregards the sacredness of human life and actions that pose an imminent danger to another person. So, if the incident does not meet this threshold, you can be relieved of second-degree murder charges.

The other group of people that can attract second-degree murder convictions are accomplices of a murder felony. Notably, if the murder accusation involves the use of a weapon, the accused might suffer more if they are convicted. Weapon or no weapon, every accused person needs the services of an experienced Tampa violent crimes attorney.

How Can I Relieve Myself of Third-Degree Murder Charges in Tampa?

Persons that commit or attempt to commit a non-violent crime but end up unintentionally killing someone fall in this category. The first type of defense is disputing the prosecution’s argument, and when this is impossible, negotiations for more lenient terms of imprisonment would be ideal.

A good murder defense in Florida can mitigate the possibility of the accused getting statutory maximum imprisonment, and reduce it to the minimum mandatory sentence.

How Can I Escape Attempted Murder Charges?

Surprisingly, attempted murder penalties can be as severe as murder itself. For instance, you can be imprisoned for life for attempting to kill someone that you didn’t actually kill. First-degree attempted murder requires premeditation, while second-degree attempted murder needs no prior planning.

The good thing is that, proving intention is never an easy task for the prosecution because they have to compile physical and testimonial evidence to show that the accused person intended to take away the victim’s life. Another popular defense is proving that you voluntarily stopped yourself from committing the murder. This defense may not stand if you were only held back by unanticipated resistance or unforeseen difficulties.

What are the Popular Murder Defenses in Tampa?

Developing a strategic murder defense can be a bit complex. It involves an aggressive Tampa criminal defense attorney filing for a Demand for Discovery that allows them to access the prosecution’s evidence. The fingerprints, videos, witness testimonies, arrest reports, exculpatory evidence, and other physical evidence in the state’s possession are key in building the most vigorous defense.

It is much easier to develop the most appropriate approach to criminal defense once you have access to the evidence. Remember that not all common murder defenses apply across the board. Depositions can also reveal the weaknesses in the case, and medical and forensic experts can equip the defense team with more nuggets of information.

Some of the commonly used murder defenses in Florida include:

Self-defense. You were defending yourself against an attack that was threatening your own life.

Defense of others. You were defending another person(s) from an imminent threat of death.

Asking the court to leave out the evidence that was illegally obtained by the police. Lawful search and seizure procedures must be adhered to for anything to be admissible, and usable in a Florida court.

Insufficient evidence. Evidence that leaves doubts in the minds of the jury should not warrant a successful conviction.

The defendant not being in the requisite state of mind to commit murder. Minor status, head trauma, mental illness, intoxication, or insanity.

An alibi. Evidence of you being in another location at the time the crime was allegedly committed.

Excusable homicide and justifiable homicide

An Experienced and Aggressive Legal Counsel on Your Side

Murder convictions could mean life imprisonment or the death penalty. These are life-changing, if not life-threatening consequences, especially if you are innocent. And even when the evidence points towards you, you deserve the most lenient possible punishment. You need an attorney who will challenge every element of your charge until proven otherwise.

Our Tampa murder defense lawyer works with each client personally from the first to the final step of the legal process. Don’t fight alone. Talk to us today at (813) 967-2000 and we will help fight back.