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Murder vs Manslaughter in Florida: Getting Down to the Nitty-gritty


The law makes some crucial distinctions between various types of murder. The death penalty is a looming factor in Florida, and technical details can mean the difference between life and death. You can find the legal information relevant to homicides in the Florida Statutes, section 782. We briefly explore how murder and manslaughter differ where local laws are concerned.

Murder in Florida

Murder is looked upon more harshly by the law than manslaughter is, and there are specific types of murder. 

First-degree Murder

First-degree murder refers to killing a person with intent and planning, also known as premeditation. This sort of crime is punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

First-degree murder also refers to any homicide committed while carrying out a violent felony or attempting to do so. Relevant felonies include but are not limited to:

  • Aircraft piracy
  • Aggravated abuse of a child, older person, or disabled adult
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Unlawful distribution of illicit or controlled substances that lead to the victim's death
  • Human trafficking
  • Kidnapping
  • Prison escape
  • Sexual battery
  • Terrorism
  • Violent resistance of an officer

If an accomplice is responsible for the felony murder, the first-degree murder penalty extends to you as well.

Second-degree Murder

Second-degree murder refers to killing someone with malice without planning to. This act occurs because of a 'depraved mind' and loss of self-control. There is a range of severe penalties.

Third-degree Murder

Only two other states besides Florida have third-degree murder laws. This type of unintentional homicide occurs during a non-violent felony not listed above. Punishment for this charge involves 15 years behind bars (or more for habitual offenders) and as much as $10,000 in fines.

Manslaughter in Florida

There are two categories of manslaughter: involuntary and voluntary. 

The latter suggests an intent to commit an act or kill 'in the heat of passion' immediately after being provoked. Juries determine whether a 'reasonable person' would act similarly under the same circumstances. If found guilty, the perpetrator receives a minimum sentence of 9 ¼ years.

On the other hand, involuntary manslaughter refers to situations where there was no intent to harm, but reckless behavior led to lethal consequences. For example, a DUI might fall under this category, and the penalties are similar to third-degree murder.

Get Help From a Murder Defense Lawyer in Orlando, Florida

If you or a loved one are dealing with the aftermath of a homicide, you probably feel nervous and uncertain about the future outcome of your case. Find clarity with the aid of a murder defense lawyer in Orlando or Titusville. Contact Ali & Blankner to protect your rights and take next steps in the legal process. 


Laws change. You must consult a legal expert before taking action based on the information mentioned in this post.