Third Degree Murder in Florida

Under Florida Statute 782.04(4), the crime of Third Degree Murder occurs when a person unintentionally kills another 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 a Second Degree Felony in Florida and punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison, fifteen (15) years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Third Degree Murder is assigned a Level 8 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code. Absent grounds for a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Third Degree Murder to a minimum sentence of 10⅓ years in prison, but may also sentence the person up to the statutory maximum of fifteen (15) years in prison.

Defenses to Third Degree Murder

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Third Degree Murder are:

Excusable Homicide

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.

Justifiable Homicide

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.

Self Defense

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 today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.