It’s a serious thing to find yourself facing criminal allegations involving an act of violence against another person. Even if you did not mean to harm a person or the charges against you are false, it is in your interests to take your situation seriously and move to build a viable criminal defense strategy as soon as possible. This is particularly true if you are facing second degree murder charges.
This type of murder charge involves an act that takes the life of one person without premeditation. It is this element of forethought and premeditation that separates a first degree murder from a second degree murder. There are lower penalties associated with a second degree charge, but it could result in years, if not decades, behind bars.
Intent versus premeditation
In a second degree murder case, the prosecution will try and convince a jury that the defendant meant to kill the deceased. It is possible to act with an intention of trying to kill a person without planning the murder beforehand. However, it is very difficult to definitively prove a person’s intent when he or she acted in a certain way.
Premeditation is the act of planning out an action before it takes place, or in cases involving a murder, planning out how to take the life of another person before doing it. It is possible to face second degree murder charges if you intended to cause bodily harm to a person but not necessarily kill him or her.
A disregard for a person’s life
Another scenario in which you could face second degree murder charges is if there is evidence that you acted with a disregard for a person’s life, resulting in his or her death. This means that an accidental death could result in these grave criminal charges if you behaved in a way that reckless, negligent or endangered others.
The right defense plan for you
Every defense case is different. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to creating the right way to fight back against criminal allegations. This is why it is important to seek legal guidance as early as possible in your case so that you can start the work of defending your rights and interests immediately.
An assessment of your case with an experienced Florida legal ally is a good place to start with this process. While second degree murder charges are certainly serious, a conviction or guilty plea are never your only options.