Attempted murder charges carry hefty fines and harsh prison sentences in the United States. Courts in Florida don’t take these charges lightly and reserve some severe penalties for anyone suspected of having tried to take someone else’s life.
Sometimes the penalties for someone accused of attempted murder are similar to those of someone who committed homicide. Still, it’s crucial to understand that you don’t have to be the actual person who tried to take someone else’s life for you to get convicted of the charge.
The law criminalizes anyone suspected of aiding or abetting the act. Therefore, if you or anyone you know is convicted of attempting to commit murder, it’s in your best interest to reach out to a violent crimes attorney who can walk you through the process and explain your rights.
An In-Depth Understanding of Attempted Murder Charges in The State of Florida
Under the Florida Statute § 782.051, attempted murder is defined as the intent to commit any felony as outlined in s.782.04(3), and one who commits, aids, or abets the intentional act that is in close proximity to an unsuccessful homicide.
For it to be considered attempted murder, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended but failed to cause the death of another. Florida generally has an open definition of what falls under the attempted murder umbrella. This is because prosecutors usually want to bring charges against any person who had any involvement in the crime.
Attempted murder charges can be levied against you if police officers believe you:
- Transported the person who intended to commit murder to or from the crime scene
- Took part in or helped in an assault that involved another person trying to commit murder
- Knowingly facilitated an act of trying to commit the crime even if you weren’t physically present at the scene of the crime. The same can also apply if you didn’t realize the other person had homicidal intent but still contributed to their actions.
Penalties of First Degree Attempted Murder in Florida
First-degree murder is the most serious felony in Florida and typically carries harsher punishment than other felonies. You can be found guilty of first-degree attempted murder if:
- You attempted to kill someone during a crime such as aggravated battery, arson, or burglary
- Aided or abetted the intentional act that could have, but didn’t, result in the death of another person
The penalties for such a crime include:
- A maximum of $10,000 in fines
- 25 years to life in prison with or without the possibility of parole
A prosecutor must prove that acts of violence that could have resulted in death were intentional and premeditated for a first-degree attempted murder conviction.
Penalties of Second Degree Attempted Murder in Florida
If the prosecution fails to prove that attempted murder was premeditated, they can still bring forth charges of second-degree attempted murder. You could be found guilty if:
- You were not trying to commit murder but caused bodily harm to another person in a manner that could be considered attempted murder.
- The attempted murder wasn’t premeditated, but you acted with cold disregard for human life while committing a crime that any reasonable human being understands can potentially be deadly.
If found guilty, the penalties include:
- A maximum of $10,000 in fines
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Up to 15 years of probation
How to Fight an Attempted Murder Charge?
Defending against these charges can seem impossible, especially if you were arrested at the crime scene. However, the state of Florida may face an uphill task when securing a conviction because a court can’t hold a person liable for attempted murder unless the prosecutor proves beyond reasonable doubt that:
- The suspect had malicious intent
- The defendant intended to commit murder, aided or abated the crime
- Their violent actions were criminal
- The suspect engaged in direct action that could have resulted in the other party’s death.
If attempted murder charges are brought against you, your best chance of acquittal is to consult with an experienced homicide lawyer. We can present possible defense strategies to ensure the charges against you are dropped.
Intent is typically the main factor in an attempted murder case. Therefore, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, we can try to show that:
- You engaged in mutual combat as self-defense.
- There is insufficient evidence to prove that you intended to commit or premeditated the crime.
- You reacted as any reasonable human being in a dangerous situation that could have potentially been fatal.
- You acted aggressively and violently to defend someone else
- External factors influenced your actions. For example, you can plead insanity or a pre-existing mental illness
The prosecution may have a strong case against you, but that doesn’t mean they will automatically win it. Like many others in office, prosecutors are elected officials, and often their biggest concern is achieving a high conviction rate.
If the above defenses don’t seem viable, we can negotiate with the prosecutor to get you a plea bargain. A plea bargain is a legal deal where the prosecution can significantly reduce your charges to preserve their conviction record. Plea bargains sometimes help the accused avoid prison time.
Talk to A Violent Crimes Lawyer Today
A serious crime like attempted murder carries harsh penalties and makes one a social pariah. You may feel overwhelmed by the negative social effects and complex legalities of handling the case you’re facing.
Even if you manage to avoid prison time, you may still become ineligible for jobs and loan applications, have difficulties renting apartments, or may have a permanent record. This is why we want to protect your freedom.
At Meltzer & Bell, we have over two decades’ worth of collective experience in handling cases involving violent crimes like attempted homicide. Our lawyers are well trained to skillfully and aggressively defend our clients in court to secure wins.
We will walk you through the charges against you, the penalties, and possible defense strategies that may reduce or dismiss your charges altogether. Get in touch with Meltzer & Bell today by calling (772) 248-1215 or filling out and submitting an online contact form to set up your free consultation.