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Orlando Murder Lawyer


Murder is the most serious violent crime anyone can be accused of, and leaves the defendant facing the harshest penalties available under the judicial system if convicted. Felony murder typically involves premeditation, or the death of another individual during the commission or attempted commission of another crime. Depending on the circumstances, a person may face charges in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree with first-degree murder being the most serious of all charges. At Adams & Luka, our Orlando murder defense lawyers know that those accused of taking another person's life face severe criminal penalties which may include a life prison term, or in some cases the death penalty. Whether you are under investigation or have been arrested, it is critical that you take action at once to protect your legal rights and freedom.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree Murder in Florida

First degree murder is defined as premeditated murder in which the murder was planned ahead of time, or felony murder in which another individual lost his/her life during the commission or attempted commission of another felony offense, such as carjacking, robbery, home invasion, or kidnapping.

Second degree murder occurs when an individual is determined to have a depraved mind and kills, or the individual is an accomplice to someone else who takes another individual's life in the commission or attempted commission of another felony offense. Murder with a depraved mind means that the murder is not premeditated, but occurs when the offender acts without regard for human life, in a way that presents immediate danger to the victim.

Third degree murder is not premeditated, and occurs when another person is killed accidentally or unintentionally during the commission or attempted commission of a non-violent felony offense.

Defenses to Charges of Murder in Florida

In every case, there are pretrial and trial defenses that may be raised. The defense strategy developed by your lawyer will depend on the facts of your specific case. Prosecutors must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order for a defendant to be found guilty. With first-degree murder, the prosecutor must prove among other things that the killing was premeditated. In second-degree murder, the prosecutor must prove that a) the victim is dead, b) the death is a result of the defendant's criminal act, and c) the victim was unlawfully killed because of an imminently dangerous act and the defendant's actions demonstrated a depraved mind without regard for human life.

Some of the most common defenses used to defend against charges of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree murder include:

  • Excusable homicide - When the victim is killed by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, when the defendant is engaged in a lawful act and without any unlawful intent, or resulting from sudden combat when a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done in a manner that is cruel or unusual, excusable homicide may be a good defense.
  • Justifiable homicide - if you were resisting someone else's attempt to kill you or commit a felony against you and it resulted in the loss of that person's life, it may be justifiable homicide.
  • Self defense - the use of deadly force is justified in certain situations where a person feels his/her life is in danger.
Criminal Penalties for Murder in Orlando & Central Florida

The criminal penalties for murder are extremely severe, and depend on whether an individual is convicted of first-, second-, or third-degree murder. Penalties include:

First-degree murder (Capital Offense)

  • Death
  • Life in prison without the possibility of parole

Second-degree murder

  • Mandatory minimum of 16 3/4 years in prison
  • Maximum of life in prison
  • Maximum of life on probation
  • Fines of up to $10,000

If a firearm is used in the commission of the murder, a mandatory minimum prison of 25 years will apply.

Third-degree murder

  • Mandatory minimum of 10 1/3 years in prison
  • Maximum of 15 years in prison
  • Maximum of 15 years on probation
  • Fines of up to $10,000
Contact Adams & Luka Now

Individuals who are accused of murder face life-changing consequences if convicted. Not only may you face substantial prison time, fines, a criminal record, or even the death penalty, your career, reputation, and even relationships are in jeopardy. Our Orlando homicide lawyers are experienced, skilled, and capable of reaching positive results even in the most serious circumstances. Contact us immediately for a free consultation at (407) 872-0307 or (352) 787-2101.

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