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What is the Best Defense When Accused of Murder?

If you or a loved one has been accused of murder, it is a frightening and uncertain time. You are likely looking for a murder defense attorney in Tampa and wondering what comes next. Every case is different, but here are some basics that every defendant and their families should know.

The Legal Definition of Murder

Murder is a type of homicide, or when one human being unlawfully kills another. Murder is intentional, whereas manslaughter, which is also a form of homicide, is involuntary.

Defenses for Murder

Every case is different, and often the purpose of the defense is not to completely remove your charges. For example, sometimes a murder defense lawyer in Tampa may build their case on reducing the defendant’s charges from first degree murder to involuntary manslaughter. Some of the common defenses available for defendants charged with homicide include the following:

Justifiable Homicide

As the name suggests, a justifiable homicide allows the defendant to get off with no punishment or sentence given if the defense is proven.

Some examples include:

  • Duress or Necessity: For example, if the defendant was held at gunpoint and forced to kill another person while under threat of their own life, it may relieve them of the homicide charges.
  • Self-defense: This includes the categories of “perfect” and “imperfect” self-defense. In the case of perfect self-defense, your murder defense lawyer in Tampa will have to prove that you acted out of a reasonable belief that your own safety depended on the homicide. Imperfect self-defense is when the defendant believed the homicide was necessary, but a fully reasonable person would not have believed this.

Inability to Intentionally Kill

This is potentially a defense when the defendant was unable to understand their duty not to take a life. Though it won’t excuse the homicide, these defenses can potentially reduce the charges from murder to manslaughter. Some examples of defenses include:

  • Intoxication: This is sometimes used to reduce murder to less serious charges, depending on the case.
  • Insanity: Though the media and fictional television frequently feature this defense, it is less common than most people assume.
  • Diminished capacity: This can be used as a defense when the defendant was under immense pressure—enough to shock any reasonable person.

Work With a Reputable Murder Defense Attorney in Tampa

If you or a loved one has been accused of homicide, the first thing you should do is retain a skilled murder defense lawyer in Tampa. Your attorney will be able to guide you and ascertain what murder defense has the best chance in your case.

For a free consultation with an experienced murder defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.