Attempted First-Degree Murder - Florida Statutes 782.04(1)(a) and 777.04
Florida Statute 782.04(1)(a) prohibits anyone from committing the crime of murder. Murder is a very old crime going all the way back to Cain and Abel in the Bible. See Genesis 4:8. Some individuals try to commit a murder but for some reason are not able to carry out the murder. They might think, “Hey, I didn’t kill the guy. Why am I being arrested?” What the individual does not know is that Florida Statute 777.04 prohibits anyone from attempting murder.
Definition of Attempted First-Degree Murder
Attempted first-degree murder is where the defendant tries but fails to illegally kill another person.
Example: For Mr. Jones to be convicted of the crime of attempted first-degree murder on Vinnie, the state prosecutor must prove:
- Mr. Jones acted with intent to kill Vinnie that was beyond just thinking about it;
- Mr. Jones acted in a thought-out way to kill Vinnie; and
- The actions of Mr. Jones would have killed Vinnie but someone stopped Mr. Jones or Mr. Jones failed at killing Vinnie.
Mr. Jones is going to have to possess intent to commit murder before he attempted the murder. The intent has to be before the murder enough time so as to give Mr. Jones the opportunity to contemplate, plan, or consider his actions, otherwise, Mr. Jones could not be charged with attempted first-degree murder.
How is the prosecutor going to figure out what Mr. Jones was thinking? The jury is going to have to determine Mr. Jones’ intent based upon his actions and the facts. If Mr. Jones abandoned or prevented the murder, he has a valid defense that can be raised. For example, if Mr. Jones called Vinnie and warned him not to open the bomb shaped package at his house, Mr. Jones would have a valid defense.
The definition of attempted first-degree murder uses the word unlawful. The law allows for certain types of killing. You might be reading that last statement and are shocked; however, Florida Statute 782.02 allows for potential victims to use deadly force to stop a person from murdering them or committing other felonies upon them. Florida Statute 782.03 also excuses accidental deaths under certain conditions.
The actions of Mr. Jones would not have to result in the instantaneous death of Vinnie but his eventual death. For example, Mr. Jones could be charged with attempted first-degree murder if he was caught with some poison that would have slowly killed Vinnie days later.
Punishment for Attempted First-Degree Murder
The punishment for attempted first-degree murder is either life in prison without the possibility of parole or the worst scenario of all, the death penalty.
Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
If you have been arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder in the Palm Beach County or the Broward County area, it is extremely important that you contact an attorney at our firm to discuss your defense options.