If you are charged with first-degree murder (premeditated) or attempted first-degree murder in the State of Florida, you are facing a life sentence. It is critical that you hire the best criminal defense attorney you can.
However, sometimes prosecutors will charge first-degree murder or attempted first-degree murder, hopeful that even in the event the jury comes back on second or attempted second, you are still facing considerable prison time.
Firearm use or possession in the State of Florida creates mandatory minimum terms that must be imposed by the Court if you are found guilty of using a firearm during the commission of a murder or attempted murder. For first-degree murder, there is an automatic life term if convicted. For second-degree murder, you will face an automatic 25-year mandatory prison term if someone is injured or killed; 20 years (mandatory minimum) just for discharging a firearm (provided nobody was hurt or killed).
Murder and attempted murder are as serious as it gets. And since most plea offers are going to be very high, the likelihood that your case will go to trial is much greater than if charged with a lower-level offense.
It's important to have a plan in place, not only to attack the state's theory of premeditation (that the defendant planned to murder or attempt to murder somebody); but to combat the lesser-included offense of second-degree murder/attempted second-degree murder. Second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder do not require proof of premeditation.
If the evidence of premeditation is weak, a jury could easily settle on second-degree (attempt or murder) if the evidence proves that the accused committed an act "imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind." Attempted second-degree murder and second-degree murder DO NOT require the prosecutor to prove that the accused had an intent to kill.
It is critical to not only prepare your case against the highest offense charged, but of any lesser-included offenses that could trigger a mandatory term. While a lesser-included offense is preferable to the charged offense, your criminal attorney must still be ready to address these contingencies should your case proceed to trial.
If you are facing attempted murder or murder charges in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach, contact me to discuss your options. If your loved one is in custody, you may contact me on their behalf.