Excusable homicide refers to some situations where killing another person is not considered a crime. Florida law defines excusable homicide as:
- A death that is committed by accident while doing any lawful act with usual ordinary caution and without any illegal intent
- A death that is committed by accident in the heat of passion, upon sudden provocation or combat, as long as no dangerous weapon was used and the killing did not happen in a cruel or unusual manner
If either of these situations applies, you should not be convicted of murder or homicide. However, you may need to convince the court that what happened was an excusable homicide.
Is Excusable Homicide a Defense for You?
Every case is unique, and an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer can review your case and determine if excusable homicide or another murder defense is appropriate for you. Excusable homicide is not a defense that can be used in all situations, but it may be applicable if:
- You killed someone by accident. A car accident, boating accident, or another type of fatal accident could be an excusable homicide as long as you were using ordinary caution and had no illegal intent while engaging in a lawful act, such as operating a motor vehicle.
- You acted in self-defense. Excusable homicide may be a defense if you reasonably believed that your life or bodily integrity was in imminent danger and you used deadly force to defend yourself. However, it's important to note that using deadly force in self-defense is only justifiable if it is proportionate to the threat faced.
- You acted in the heat of passion. Excusable homicide could be a defense if the victim's words or actions were reasonably expected to elicit a violent reaction from you, and you accidentally kill them.
Why You Need a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer Even if the Homicide Was Excusable
If you are involved in a situation where someone has died, and you believe the killing was excusable, it's essential to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer because:
- Prosecutors may disagree with your defense. Even if you believe the killing was excusable, prosecutors may disagree with your claim and may decide to press charges against you. A criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and defend your rights in court.
- Criminal charges can have serious consequences. You may ultimately be found not guilty of the crime. However, being charged with a crime can have serious consequences, including damage to your reputation. If you are found guilty of murder or homicide, then you may face significant jail time or the death penalty. A criminal defense lawyer can ensure you are treated fairly and that a solid defense is presented to the court.
- A plea bargain may be possible. A plea deal isn't possible or appropriate in every criminal case. However, your lawyer can explain the pros and cons of possible plea deals with you and advise you accordingly.
- A criminal defense lawyer can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution's case and your defense. That way, you can know what to expect and make informed decisions about your defense.
- A criminal defense lawyer can help protect your rights. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the killing, you have the right to a fair trial and legal representation. A criminal defense lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process and that all possible defenses are considered carefully.
While excusable homicide may be a defense in certain circumstances, it's important to remember that the legal system is complex, and navigating it alone can be challenging. You have too much at stake to take chances, even if you know that the death was an excusable homicide according to Florida state law. Contact our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer today for your consultation.