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First-degree Murder Attorneys in Orlando

When a person commits either felony or premeditated murder, that individual may face first degree murder charges under Florida Statute 782.04(1)(a). This is a capital offense, the most serious charge a person can face with only two outcomes for those found guilty; life in prison, or death. If you have been arrested or charged with first degree murder, it is imperative that you consult with a skilled and aggressive Orlando criminal defense attorney immediately.

Felony murder is a criminal offense that occurs when an individual loses his/her life during the commission of a specific felony act such as carjacking, arson, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, home invasion, sexual battery, violence upon an officer's person while resisting, or other offense classified as a felony offense.

Premeditated murder 782.04(1)(a)(1) is the planned murder of the victim that is thought about and planned prior to the murder taking place. If you deliberately or intentionally take a person's life, it is considered premeditated murder.

Florida Penalties for First Degree Murder

Whether you have been accused of premeditated or felony murder, the punishment for someone convicted (found guilty) of first-degree murder is life-changing. Loss of freedom and possibly life are the consequences, as the sentence you will be given will either be:

  • Life without the possibility of parole
  • Death

Even in cases in which the death penalty as punishment is waived, the only alternative is life in prison with no possibility of parole. A conviction will result in spending life behind prison bars.

It is important to note that in first degree murder cases the state may choose to seek a punishment of life in prison and waive the death penalty. In this situation, the individual convicted will be sentenced to a life prison term without the possibility of parole. In the event the death penalty is not waived by the state, a separate sentencing hearing will be conducted by the court to decide the fate of the defendant; life in prison or death. This proceeding is referred to as the Penalty Phase.

Possible Defenses to First Degree Murder Charges

Even when facing this serious capital offense there are several defenses that might prove successful depending on the facts of the case. While anyone who is accused of any homicide crime would naturally want to have charges dismissed, this is not possible in every case. When a person pleads "not guilty" and goes forward to trial, it is critical to have a proven and capable defense lawyer who will work with you to develop a solid defense and fight for your freedom. Some of the defenses that may be used in an effort to reach an acquittal include:

  • Justifiable homicide
  • Excusable homicide
  • Justified use of deadly force (self-defense)
  • Accident
  • Alibi

With an alibi defense the defendant claims he/she was not at the crime scene and did not commit the crime. It may be possible to establish a solid alibi to the whereabouts of the defendant at the time the murder occurred. In some cases, a gun or weapon may go off unintentionally under innocent circumstances, making the killing an accident. This is a circumstance that falls under excusable homicide.

Another example of excusable homicide is when the killing happens in circumstances where the accused is suddenly and sufficiently provoked by the victim, or in the heat of passion.

There are a wide array of defenses possible when someone faces serious charges. There are many factors that must be considered in determining the best way to proceed in each unique case in order to reach a positive outcome.

Those charged with any crime including first degree murder are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution has the burden of proving guilt and must provide sufficient and indisputable evidence of the defendant's guilt.

Contact Adams & Luka Immediately

When you are facing criminal allegations of first-degree murder it is without a doubt the most frightening point in your life. At Adams & Luka our Orlando criminal defense attorneys are ready to answer your questions, help you understand the criminal justice system, work with you to develop a solid, effective defense strategy and more. Your freedom is important to us; your legal rights must be protected from the very beginning. We urge you to contact us immediately for a free consultation at 407-872-0307.

Client Reviews

I would like thank my attorney Thomas Luka. I knew from the beginning I had the right guy in my corner. While celebrating with family and friends at a Public Park in Seminole County, a fight broke out among various people. Myself, and a good friend, broke up the fight and the instigators left. Six months later, I was wrongly accused as the person who started the fight. The first attorney I hired could not even get a response from the State Attorney handling the case. Someone referred me to Tom and I felt comfortable at his demeanor and reactions.

After conversations with Tom, who knew I would settle for nothing less than a FULL DISMISSAL due to my innocence, I hired him. His firm of Adams and Luka did the due diligence by interviewing witnesses and the police who were on the scene, as well as starting a dialogue with the State Attorney. After gathering statements from witnesses, Tom was able to present a strong argument on my behalf to the State Attorney on why the case should be dismissed. If the State Attorney was not willing to dismiss the case, Tom was ready to take the case to trial.

The result by Thomas Luka: Case Dismissed.

I am 53 years old with a spotless record and glad to keep it that way thanks to the time, effort, hard work, and professionalism of the Adams and Luka and Tom Luka.

Earl from Mesquite
Thomas Luka left a life-long great impression of lawyers. He was always professional, on time, and answered things honestly. From the start and during the 14 months it went on - Tom was very upfront and honest with me about the possible outcomes. The result was better than I had hoped for. Tom really over-delivered. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Marcela Giorgi
Adams and Luka were very professional and savvy in the courtroom. When you're in court with Mr. Luka you will think you have the best attorney there. I recommend this law firm. Pioneer Tech
Rich Adams is an outstanding criminal attorney. I have had the opportunity to refer several friends and clients to his practice for handling of criminal matters, and on every occasion he has produced an excellent result. Rich practices with attention to detail, a thorough knowledge of the law, and a passion to defend his clients. I will continue to refer clients to Rich Adams, and would strongly recommend him for your legal needs. Brian Pink