What is First-Degree (Premeditated) Murder in Florida?

Weapon in front of a gavel

The crime of First-Degree (Premeditated) Murder is a Capital Offense which is punishable by the Death Penalty or Life without the possibility of parole.

The offense of First-Degree (Premeditated) Murder occurs:

  1. When victim is dead.
  2. The death was caused by the criminal act of person.
  3. There was a premeditated killing of victim.

An “act” includes a series of related actions arising from and performed pursuant to a single design or purpose.

“Killing with premeditation” is killing after consciously deciding to do so.  The decision must be present in the mind at the time of the killing.  The law does not fix the exact period of time that must pass between the formation of the premeditated intent to kill and the killing.  The period of time must be long enough to allow reflection by the defendant.  The premeditated intent to kill must be formed before the killing.

In order to find that the defendant did not act with a premeditated design to kill because he/she acted in the heat of passion based on adequate provocation:

  1. There must have been a sudden event that would have suspended the exercise of judgment in an ordinary reasonable person; and
  2. A reasonable person would have lost normal self-control and would have been driven by a blind and unreasoning fury; and
  3. There was not a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable person to cool off; and
  4. A reasonable person would not have cooled off before committing the act that constituted the attempt to cause death; and
  5. Person was, in fact, so provoked and did not cool off before he/she committed the act that constituted the attempt to cause the death of victim.

Defenses in Shalimar, Crestview, Destin, Ft. Walton Beach and other areas of FL:

  • Person acted in self-defense.
  • Person did not intend to commit first-degree murder.
  • Person did not act premeditated.

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Glenn M. Swiatek for a Free Initial Consultation

If you have been arrested or believe you will soon be arrested for the offense of first-degree (premeditated) murder in Destin, Shalimar, Crestview, Ft. Walton Beach or other areas of Northwest Florida please call us today at (850) 609‑0940 or contact us online.

Initial Office Consults are free, and I will make myself available to suit your schedule. Get the peace of mind that an attorney with over twenty-three years of criminal law experience can bring.