When someone dies because of the actions of another, the law calls this homicide. Homicide is not a death that occurs from natural causes or due to an accident, such as a fall, although not every homicide is a crime. However, there are numerous types of homicides, and investigators will make several important determinations before deciding whether to file charges against the person they believe is responsible for the death.
If you are facing accusations of first-degree murder, you are looking at the most serious degree of homicide. You are right to feel concerned about your future and the outcome of your case. The penalties for a conviction for first-degree murder are harsh, and your very life may be on the line.
Understanding the elements of first-degree murder
The investigation into a first-degree murder contains many complex elements. Before filing charges against you, authorities must have evidence that implicates your involvement in the crime. This can include forensic evidence, eyewitness accounts and circumstantial evidence. To prove that you are guilty of first-degree murder, prosecutors must use their evidence to demonstrate one of the following:
- You established a plan with the intention of killing someone. The prosecutor may have to show the jury the steps you took as part of your premeditation, even if the plan was very simple.
- Your involvement in the distribution of certain drugs, including opioids, led to someone’s fatal overdose.
- Someone died through your actions during the commission of a felony crime, such as a kidnapping, home invasion or burglary.
A successful prosecution can result in the most devastating penalties. Florida is one of the few states that actively pursue the death penalty for capital cases. However, even if the prosecution does not seek the death penalty, you may still face life in prison with no chance for parole if a court convicts you. This means spending the rest of your life separated from your loved ones and everything that is familiar to you.
Don’t face these charges on your own
With so much on the line, you certainly want every possible advantage as you fight the charges of first-degree murder. Fortunately, you do not have to take on the fight alone. With the representation of a determined and experienced attorney, you may have a better chance of reaching a more positive outcome and looking to the future with hope.