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First Degree Murder Defense

Law Office of Patrick R. McKamey, P.A. > First Degree Murder Defense

First Degree Murder Defense Lawyer Practicing in West Palm Beach

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There are many different types, degrees, and penalties for unlawfully killing another person. Different defenses must be used based on the facts and evidence that were collected by the defense and the prosecution.  Under Florida Statute 782.04(1)(a), First Degree Murder is committed when a person commits either premeditated, felony murder, or a homicide associated with certain drug offenses.

If you need a defense lawyer in West Palm Beach that has extensive experience with first degree murder trials, the Law Office of Patrick McKamey is the one to turn to. With over 300 trials having gone to verdict, our experience is unrivaled. Our team is dedicated to providing you the best defense available and our case results prove that.

Premeditation is the key word used to define a first-degree murder case. This makes it different from a second-degree murder charge, where malice towards the victim can be proved but the killing was not planned ahead of time and was more spontaneously motivated. First-degree murder, the most serious of all homicide charges, is the most severe.

Florida law requires that felony murder charges be applied when the defendant is convicted of homicide during the commission or attempt to commit a specific felony. These felonies include burglary and home invasion, robbery, kidnapping, and sexual battery. The prosecution must prove that defendant intended to commit the underlying crime, but the state can still bring the charges against the defendant even if he did not actually kill.

Lawyer discussing repercussions of committing first degree murder to client.

Florida law also defines first degree murder as homicide resulting from drug dealing or the illegal distribution of controlled substances. Drug-related offenses must include controlled substances as defined by state law. This includes cocaine and opium. The state may try to charge the drug distributor with first-degree murder if the victim is killed by a drug overdose.

A Florida conviction for first degree murder is punishable with a life sentence in prison without parole. This is a capital crime, and the prosecution may also seek the death penalty under certain circumstances. The stakes could not be higher. If premeditation has become part of the focus in a murder investigation, hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

Many different pretrial and trial defenses can be raised in any criminal case. However, First Degree Murder has specific allowable defenses: excusable homicide, justifiable homicide, and self-defense. Under any of these three circumstances, it is permissible to kill a human being making it legal:

  • If the murder is accidental and caused by misfortune while performing any lawful act using lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any illegal intent.
  • If the killing is accidental and in the heat of passion, upon any sudden or sufficient provocation.
  • If the killing occurs by accident or misfortune, and if no dangerous weapon is used, and if the killing is not cruel or unusual.

It is the responsibility of the prosecution in criminal justice to prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. Our team will analyze all conflicting evidence from the opposing side and our findings. This can leave jurors with an incomplete picture that casts doubt on their deliberations.

Our experience with handling cases like this allows us to challenge the direction in which the opposition will proceed in a case of first-degree murder. We have the right insight and the tools to challenge allegations based upon the evidence available, regardless of whether they are being presented by the federal or state government.

In the event of a plea agreement, it is up to you, the client on how to proceed. Our understanding and guidance will help you weigh the pros and cons of the options available. The sooner you contact us to handle your case, the better. We will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best defense possible.

Do you need legal help? Contact us now.

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