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Defending Against Murder Charges


If you have been accused of murder in the state of Florida, you are facing substantial consequences. An experienced Fort Lauderdale homicide defense attorney is necessary to identity and develop available defenses.   Understanding the details of the case and determining an identifying an available defense strategy is crucial.  Below are just some of the possible defenses that may be available in a case.

Justifiable Homicide 

In Florida, there are certain conditions under which a homicide may be justifiable (Florida Statute 776).  Those include:

  • Perfect Self-Defense: If you truly believed your life was in danger and you acted in response to violence that was initiated by an aggressor, it is lawful to defend yourself, even if it results in the death of the aggressor.
  • Imperfect Self-Defense: If a typical person would not have believed lethal action was necessary in the situation, but you did, it is still possible to demonstrate that you were acting in what you believed was the only way to survive the situation.
  • Defense of Property: If your home or property has been invaded, and you killed the intruder after being threatened, you have a legal right to defend yourself.
  • Necessity or Duress: If you were forced to kill someone by a third party, it is possible to avoid a murder charge.
  • Crime Prevention: If you were acting to prevent the commission of a crime and it can be demonstrated that your intervention was reasonable, murder charges may not be filed.

Lack of Intent 

Sometimes murder charges may be reduced to either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter if it is shown that you did not understand that your actions could prove to be lethal (Florida Statute 782).  These situations include:

  • Insanity: If you did not have the mental capacity to understand what you were doing and the consequences of your actions;
  • Diminished Capacity: In layman’s terms, this is generally known as temporary insanity. It’s when the stress or surprise of a situation causes you to behave outside societal norms and kill someone.
  • Intoxication: When alcohol or drugs have diminished your ability to function appropriately and control your actions.

Rational Mistake 

Another defense to the intent to commit murder is when an individual is unaware that his or her actions could result in a fatality (Florida Statute 782.03).

  • Mistakes of Fact: If you engaged in what would have been lawful activities, but killed someone due to a misunderstanding of the facts (such as accidentally shooting someone because you believed the gun was not loaded.)

Preparing Your Defense 

When murder charges are filed against you, you need a dedicated, knowledgeable, and determined criminal defense attorney.  Deric Zacca, Esquire is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can expertly and professionally defend your case.  Contact him in Fort Lauderdale today for a  confidential consultation.