Third Degree Murder in Florida
If accused of Third Degree Murder in Florida, you need to know the:
Definition of Third Degree Murder
The crime of Third Degree Murder occurs when you unintentionally kill a person while committing, or attempting to commit, a non-violent felony.
Controlled Substance Exception
The most notable exception to the non-violent standard is when a person's death is found to be proximately caused by ingesting drugs that you provided to the deceased. In such instances the crime can be charged as First Degree Felony Murder.
Penalties for Third Degree Murder
The crime of Third Degree Murder is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 8 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.
If convicted of Third Degree Murder, a judge is required to impose a minimum prison sentence of 10⅓ years in prison absent grounds to impose a downward departure sentence and can also impose any combination of the following penalties:
- Up to 15 years in prison.
- Up to 15 years of probation.
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
Defenses to Third Degree Murder
The killing of a human being is excusable, and therefore lawful, under any one of the following three circumstances:
- When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent, or
- When the killing occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or
- When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.
The killing of a human being is justifiable homicide and lawful if done while resisting an attempt by someone to kill you or to commit a felony against you.
Also known as the justified use of deadly force, self defense is a defense to the crime of Second Degree Murder. Please view the Florida Self Defense section for more information.
Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby
If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Third Degree Murder in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.
The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.