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Work with an Experienced Former Prosecutor

Being accused of killing another person is a serious criminal charge with dire consequences. Everyone deserves the right to a fair trial, and that’s where an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Facing penalties as serious as life in prison or even death can feel overwhelming and isolating. 

The Tampa criminal defense lawyers at Buda Law understand what you’re going through and are ready to help. As a former prosecutor, Andrew Buda knows the strategies the prosecution will use against you and will use that knowledge to create an aggressive defense strategy to fight those accusations. Whether you’ve been accused of a crime as serious as homicide or as simple as a misdemeanor, you deserve the best defense that Tampa has to offer. 

In addition to representing clients facing homicide charges, experienced criminal defense lawyer Andrew Buda can also assist in the following criminal cases: drug crimes, domestic violence charges, white-collar crimes, and more. To schedule a free consultation, call Buda Law at (813) 322-2832 or reach out online today.

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Facing charges for homicide? Contact us at 813-322-2832 to discuss your case and learn your options during a free, initial consultation.

Florida Statutes Chapter 782

The term homicide is often used interchangeably with murder, but the two aren’t the same when defined by the Florida criminal justice system. Homicide is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being. However, not all homicides are considered violent crimes; some can be justifiable or excusable. 

Chapter 782 of the Florida Statutes is solely devoted to the various types of homicide, which homicides are criminal, and the penalties that can follow a criminal conviction. Homicide charges like murder and manslaughter fall under this Florida statute. 

Homicide Defense Lawyer

Types of Tampa Homicide Charges Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Handle

Florida Statute Chapter 782 covers many actions that can lead to criminal charges. Many Tampa criminal defense lawyers have experience with homicide charges, but Andrew Buda has the upper hand as a former prosecuting attorney. Tampa criminal defense lawyer Andrew Buda has been on both sides of the courtroom when litigating homicide charges. This knowledge allows him to stay two steps ahead of the prosecution and craft a strong defense strategy to disprove the criminal charges. 

As an experienced Tampa violent crime lawyer, Andrew Buda has defended against many different homicide charges, the most common cases of which are listed below. 

Murder Cases

According to Florida Statute 782.04, a person can be charged with murder if they unlawfully kill another human through a pre-meditated action. A person can also face felony murder charges if they kill another human during the commission or attempted commission of felony criminal offenses, whether they intended to kill them or not. Some of these felony offenses may include:

  • Drug trafficking or distribution of a controlled substance
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Aggravated child abuse
  • Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Carjacking
  • Terrorism
  • Kidnapping
  • Unlawfully discharging, throwing, or placing a bomb or destructive device
  • Home-invasion robbery 
  • Aircraft piracy

A person can also face murder charges if a death results from the unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. For example, a person can be charged with murder if they sell opium to their friend who then dies from an overdose.

Tampa Murder Attorney

Manslaughter Cases

Manslaughter and murder are also two terms that are often confused when discussing homicide. However, murder is usually committed intentionally, while manslaughter is unintentional. There are three different ways a person can commit manslaughter, according to Florida Statute 782.07:  

  1. Manslaughter by Act (Voluntary Manslaughter): When a person commits an intentional act that results in the death of another person. That action is neither justified nor excusable.  
  2. Manslaughter by Procurement (also considered Voluntary Manslaughter): When a person persuades or encourages another person to commit an act that leads to the death of a human being.
  3. Manslaughter by Culpable Negligence (Involuntary Manslaughter): Culpable negligence, or criminal negligence, is behavior that recklessly disregards human life or the safety of others. For example, a person can face this charge if they drive under the influence and kill another person. They were engaging in culpably negligent conduct that led to the death of another. 

Homicide by Vessel and Vehicular Homicide Cases

When a person operates a vehicle recklessly, and those actions result in another person’s death, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter under Florida Statute 782.071. The level of the offender’s culpability is critical in vehicular homicide cases. The charges a person could face essentially boil down to whether they knowingly recklessly drove the vehicle in a way that could result in bodily harm or death. 

Since Tampa, FL residents seem to have just as many boats as they do cars, it’s important to touch on Florida Statute 782.072. According to this law, a person can be charged with vessel homicide if they recklessly operate a vessel that results in the death of another, such as boating under the influence. Florida Statute 327.02 (47) defines a vessel as a boat, watercraft, barge, airboat, or any means of transportation on water. 

Aiding in Self-Murder Cases

In Florida, it’s illegal for a person to help another commit suicide. This offense is called “self-murder” and is defined under Florida Statute 782.08. This type of homicide often occurs in the medical field when a dying or terminally ill person asks for help to end their life instead of living with their illness. 

Even though the person asked for help to die, the other individual who helped can still be charged with a second-degree felony offense. 

Penalties for Homicide in Florida

What are the Penalties for Homicide in Florida?

The penalties that a person can be punished with for a homicide charge vary depending on the type of offense and other circumstances surrounding the case. The most common homicide penalties for homicide-related crimes are listed below:

  • First-Degree Murder/Capital Felony: The murder was premeditated, or the murder was the result of the committing of another crime at the time, or the distribution of a controlled substance led to someone’s death. Punishment for first-degree murder is the death penalty or life without parole. 
  • Second-Degree Murder/Felony: Manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges often result in this level of punishment. A second-degree felony conviction can result in a minimum 16-year prison sentence up to life. If a firearm was used during the crime, the minimum sentence is increased to 25 years.  
  • Third-Degree Murder/Felony: This sentence for a homicide-related crime is relatively rare. Offenders usually receive this punishment if they cause another person’s death while attempting to commit a non-violent crime. This conviction can result in a ten to fifteen-year prison sentence. 

The penalties following a serious criminal charge like homicide can affect a person for the remainder of their life. When facing felony charges, it’s important not to choose average Tampa criminal lawyers for your legal representation. A skilled criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between life imprisonment and a clean slate. When charged with homicide, only the most qualified criminal lawyer in Tampa will do. 

Why You Need a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney for Homicide Charges in Tampa

Homicide charges are as serious as they get, so taking your defense strategy seriously is crucial. There are many Tampa criminal defense attorneys throughout the area, but when facing something as serious as life in prison, you need the best. 

Former prosecutor Andrew Buda uses his experience prosecuting offenders to build aggressive defense strategies against even the toughest accusations. In order to charge a person with murder or manslaughter, an extensive criminal investigation must be conducted, which can often leave room for errors. Your legal team at Buda Law will conduct their own investigation into your homicide charges to tear the prosecution’s allegations apart. Don’t take your chances with mediocre criminal defense lawyers; call Buda Law. 

Potential Homicide Defenses

Depending on the circumstances of the crime, your attorney can approach your defense in a number of different ways. The most common defense strategies used are:

  • Justifiable Homicide: The killing of another person was committed lawfully to prevent someone from killing you or committing a felony against you.
  • Self-Defense: Self defense is also considered justified homicide using deadly force. This strategy is usually used to defend against first-degree murder charges. When using this defense, your attorney will show that you took certain actions that resulted in another’s death but did so to protect yourself and/or others.  
  • Excusable Homicide: The killing of another can be excused under the following circumstances:
    • The killing occurred by accident, resulting in sudden combat, without a deadly weapon, and did not occur in a cruel manner.
    • The killing was an accident without unlawful intent.
    • The killing was an accident resulting from the heat of passion by provocation.
  • Lack of Evidence: Often, prosecutors just want to convict a person regardless of whether they’re completely sure they’re prosecuting the right individual. If there is a lack of evidence to support the prosecution’s claims, your attorney can fight for your rights and help you avoid a wrongful conviction. 
  • Insanity: This means the offender couldn’t distinguish right from wrong at the time the offense occurred. 

Mens Rea in Homicide Cases

In cases of murder, the concept of mens rea refers to the defendant’s mental state, specifically their intention to end another person’s life. This critical legal element distinguishes murder from other forms of homicide, as it requires demonstrating that the accused had a deliberate and conscious desire to cause death, highlighting the severity and premeditation behind such an act.

Tampa, FL Homicide Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyer for Homicide Charges in Tampa

When dealing with criminal charges as serious as homicide, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner. As a former prosecuting attorney, Andrew Buda understands the severity of these charges and knows what it takes to defend clients against them. Even minor charges can have a lasting impact on a person’s life and deserve the best defensive strategies.

Tampa criminal defense attorney Andrew Buda has represented clients against various charges like white collar crimes, theft crimes, domestic violence offenses, drug crimes, and more. To schedule a free consultation and get straight to work on your defense, contact our law firm at (813) 322-2832 today.


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