In Florida, state laws establish several types of homicide, the unlawful killing of a human being. The state prosecutes homicides as murders and manslaughters -- it may be helpful to know the multiple types of murders established by state law and understand the differences among them. In particular, second degree murder lacks the premeditation often required for the prosecution of a first degree murder. To prove second degree murder, a prosecutor must show that the defendant acted according to a "depraved mind" without regard for human life.
Proving Second Degree Murder in Florida
To prove second degree murder, a prosecutor must show that the defendant acted according to a "depraved mind" without regard for human life. Florida state laws permit the prosecution of second degree murder when the killing lacked premeditation or planning, but the defendant acted with enmity toward the victim or the two had an ongoing interaction or relationship. Unlike first degree murder, second degree murder does not necessarily require proof of the defendant's intent to kill.
Non-Premeditated Murder in the Commission of a Felony
State law specifically requires a charge of second degree murder if the victim dies during the commission of one of the felony crimes specified by statute. These felonies include burglary, home-invasion robbery, and a number of other offenses. To establish second degree murder, the prosecutor must show that the victim died as a result of an act committed by a non-participant in the felony. If the defendant or another criminal participant in the felony caused the unlawful killing, state law requires a charge of first degree murder rather than second degree murder. Florida uses this law to deter and punish unintended deaths as a result of felonious activities.
Florida Second Degree Murder Laws at a Glance
Florida Statutes Title XLVI. § 782.04, et seq.
|Statutory Definition of Second Degree Murder||
The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual.
|Second Degree Murder Sentences and Penalties||
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Florida criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Florida Second Degree Murder Laws: Related Resources
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