In order for an attempted homicide to be filed by a prosecutor in the State of Florida at least one direct step must be taken by the perpetrator toward the intended victim in an attempt to cause their death.
In the case of attempted manslaughter the accused must have knowingly or consciously and intentionally attempted to commit an act of homicide. However the completion of the act was either interrupted, or their attempt to achieve the killing was unsuccessful due to any variety of reasons. They also may be charged with the crime if they used procurement to get the intended victim to cause their own harm. However, in both cases there would be no premeditation involved and the act itself would be considered to be spontaneous committed with little aforethought within a small window of time. Attempted manslaughter incorporates all forms of an attempted homicide that does not rise to the level of attempted murder.
In order to convict a defendant of attempted manslaughter it is necessary for the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had intent to commit such an act which if successful would with probable certainty have caused death, and that the attempt was not justifiable or excusable. Lesser included charges of assault, battery, felony battery and aggravated battery may be sought by the prosecution.
In many cases, a conviction for attempted manslaughter can be offered in a plea deal when the original charge was attempted second degree murder. In a case where strong evidence exists on behalf of the prosecution's case, accepting this plea can reduce the potential for a longer prison sentence in comparison to a conviction for the original charge.
As a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney who has fought for my clients in numerous cases involving charges of homicide, I am able to weigh the pros and cons of these types of plea arrangements when offered by the prosecution and assist my clients' decision making process by helping them formulate the best assessment based on the evidence submitted and analyzed by my expert ability as well as results of previous courtroom cases that I have led or have been a part of.
In Florida, as is the case in other states and jurisdictions a charge of attempted murder is distinguished as either a first or second degree felony. As explained on the first degree murder page of this Website the basic difference between the two is the achievement of a killing that was carried out with definitive premeditation, intent and careful planning. There are also stark differences in the penalties for a conviction.
Although a charge of attempted first degree murder specifies that a fatality didn't occur, it is still a very serious charge and carries similar penalties to a first degree murder charge. Some of the sentencing differences for a conviction of this charge are that the death penalty is not sought and the possibility of parole in some states (not Florida) does exist. However, a sentence of life in prison is a strong possibility.
If any attempt of a homicide is committed with a firearm the penalties of a conviction will be enhanced, lengthening a prison sentence based on Florida's 10-20-LIFE law.
In a first or second degree murder trial even if the murder charges do not result in a conviction by the prosecution, if a firearm was pointed or displayed during the commission of the act the mandatory minimum sentence would be ten years in prison for that offense by itself. If the firearm was discharged the penalty would be twenty to twenty-five years in prison. These could be separate or attached charges that would have to be contested during the course of a trial. A second degree attempted homicide charge will also most likely be raised to a first degree charge if a firearm was discharged during the act.
As the example written above, in a case for a plea deal being offered by the prosecution for attempted second degree murder being reduced to an attempted manslaughter charge, the same may apply for a first degree case having the possibility of being scaled down to a second degree charge. Usually, in cases such as these the prosecution believes it has the evidence to convict a defendant but is not sure if the jury will find in their favor regarding premeditation. It is always up to the client to make the final decision when offers such as these are provided but my guidance and the weight of the evidence will always allow me to instruct the client properly with their best possible choices in mind.
My overall objective is to get your charges dropped completely, reduced to a lesser offense, or if found guilty have the sentence reduced. And as innocence is always presumed I will fight for your rights throughout the legal process at all times no matter how the evidence is presented. When a client's future and freedom is at stake I forcefully fight as an advocate in their defense
Call me now at any of the phone numbers listed at the top or bottom of each page of this Website for an accurate assessment of any charges brought against you or someone close who has been accused of any crimes relating to attempted homicide. My office is conveniently located in Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, also easily accessible from all parts of Dade and Palm Beach County.