Miami Murder & Homicide Attorney
Brian Kirlew, Esq. is one of South Florida’s most experienced and skilled murder/homicide attorneys. While most criminal defense lawyers go their entire careers without trying even one murder case, Brian Kirlew, Esq. has personally represented more than 30 individuals charged with murder or other homicide offenses and tried over a dozen murder/homicide cases before a jury. Our Firm is unique in that we have vast experience in serious felonies and complicated criminal matters. Murder cases and homicide offenses are different. They require not just an experienced lawyer but a team of experienced legal professionals who can fully investigate and prepare the best possible defense. Contact our experienced Miami murder and homicide attorneys today.
What is a homicide?
Homicide is an unlawful killing of another. In Florida, several offenses are covered in Chapter 782, the “Homicide Statute.” In Florida, these offenses include:
- Murder (1st, 2nd and 3rd degree)
- Felony Murder
- Attempted Murder
- Attempted Felony Murder
- DUI/BUI Manslaughter
- Vehicular Homicide
- Assisted Suicide
- Killing an unborn child by injury to the mother
Homicide investigations are complex and detailed. The very best detectives investigate these offenses, and the very best prosecutors are assigned to them. That is why when you or a loved one is charged with a homicide offense; you want to have the very best criminal defense attorney and investigative team on your side.
What are the types of murder?
1. First-degree murder
Codified in F.S. § 782.04 (1), first-degree murder is the most serious of all murder charges. It is defined by state law as any intentional murder that is willful and premeditated.
A first-degree murder may also be filed as a “felony murder” charge if the death occurred while the accused was committing (or attempting to commit) another serious felony enumerated under F.S. § 782.04 (1) 2., including any trafficking offense prohibited by F.S. § 893.135, arson, sexual battery, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, aggravated abuse of a child or elderly person/ disabled adult, carjacking, aggravated stalking, an act of terrorism or an act in furtherance of an act of terrorism, resisting an arrest and human trafficking.
Premeditation and deliberation are the critical elements of first-degree murder charges in Florida. To be found guilty of a first-degree murder charge, the prosecutor must show that the accused consciously devised a plan to commit the act with the specific intent to kill the victim or cause great bodily harm. There is no specified amount of time needed to prove premeditation.
In Florida, first-degree murder is a capital felony, punishable by either life imprisonment without parole eligibility or the death penalty.
2. Second-degree murder
Second-degree murder, per F.S. § 782.04(3)-(4), is a murder charge in which the death occurs by way of an act so imminently dangerous to another it evinces reckless disregard for human life. A second-degree murder may also be charged when someone acts in the heat of passion and kills another human being.
Unlike first-degree murder, premeditation and intent to kill are not essential to prove a second-degree murder in Florida. To prove second-degree murder, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant acted with a “depraved mind” without regard for human life.
In Florida, second-degree murder constitutes a felony of the first degree and carries severe penalties, including life in prison, life on probation, and a $10,000 fine.
Note: It is worth noting that in both first-degree and second-degree murder charges, possession (both actual and constructive) and discharge of a firearm can enhance the punishment. Per F.S. § 775.087, if a firearm was used to commit the murder, the accused can receive a 25 year to life minimum mandatory sentence in addition and coterminous to the sentence for the underlying felony conviction — Florida’s “10-20-Life” law.
3. Third-degree murder
Florida is one of the only three states with a third-degree murder law — the other two are Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Per F.S. § 782.04 (4), third-degree murder is considered the least malicious murder conviction. It occurs when a person unintentionally kills another person while committing (or attempting to commit) a non-violent felony. However, the only exception to this rule is “controlled substance exception” in which a person dies overdosing on a drug that the defendant supplied. In that case, the defendant can be charged with first-degree murder instead of third-degree murder.
Third-degree murder under Florida law is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.
What is the penalty of a Homicide or Murder conviction?
Generally speaking, the maximum penalty for most homicide/murder offenses is life in prison, without the possibility of parole. Additionally, if the Defendant is charged with first-degree murder, the state can seek the death penalty. The death penalty is sometimes sought when the facts are gruesome, or the Defendant had a prior conviction for a violent felony.
What do I do when if I am under investigation for a Murder or Homicide offense?
The first thing you should do is consult with an experienced Miami Criminal Defense Attorney. Do not discuss your case or the investigation with anyone, including your family or spouse. Never speak to the police. Do not voluntarily go into the police station for questioning. If you are arrested or detained by the police, immediately demand to speak with an attorney. Police officers will often try to intimate a suspect and manipulate them into giving a statement or confession. They might lock a suspect in a room for a long period of time. This is a tactic used by the police to get a suspect to break under pressure. The police will even leave you in a room with your cellphone, hoping that you call someone while the cameras are rolling. Again, the only person you should be calling is Brian Kirlew to inform him you have been detained and you need representation. Absolutely nothing else should be said in police officers' presence, in a police station, or the back of a squad car.
Does the Stand Your Ground Law apply in my case?
The Florida Stand Your Ground law, in the context of a murder or homicide offense, generally applies when the Defendant was either the victim of a forcible felony at the time of the killing or attempted killing, or the Defendant reasonably believed that he or someone else was going to be the victim of death or serious bodily injury. The prosecution has the burden of proof in a pre-trial hearing to establish by clearing and convincing evidence that the accused didn’t have a legal right to meet force with force. These pre-trial hearings become trials without a jury. They require the same preparation and execution that a trial requires
Defending a Murder and/or Homicide Case
Defending a murder or homicide case is much different than any other criminal offense. The very best detectives and prosecutors are assigned to these cases. Any person charged with one of these offenses must have the very best defense if they can even stand a chance in court. Brian Kirlew, Esq. and his team take a collaborative approach to murder and homicide cases. Every single homicide offense has an investigator that is involved from the outset. The investigators assist the attorney in locating witnesses, documents, and other physical evidence that can benefit the case. Each document submitted in the case is painstakingly reviewed by the attorney and his investigative team for inconsistencies, additional suspects, or potential defenses.
Experienced and Skill Miami Murder and Homicide Attorney
If you or a loved one has been arrested, charged, or is under investigation for any murder or homicide offense, contact our office immediately. The consequences of these cases can literally be life or death, and you must make sure that you or your loved one is given the best defense.
Our Areas of Specialty
The fact is, there’s always something going on in a thriving metropolis like Miami. That means it’s easier than you might imagine to find yourself facing criminal charges. Given the dynamic nature of our city, it only makes sense for Brian Kirlew and his defense team to be flexible and responsive to the needs of his clients.
Our firm represents clients charged with any and all types of offenses in Miami and the greater South Florida area. The skills of an intelligent and experienced Miami criminal defense lawyer translate to all areas of criminal law. Therefore, we do not like to be bound by one or two particular areas as our “specialty.” We find defending against a broad spectrum of crimes to be more interesting and enjoyable to our practice.
Brian Kirlew, Esq. is experienced in defending all kinds of criminal felony and misdemeanor charges in the greater Miami area, including:
Don’t Wait Another Minute. Get Your Free Consultation Now.
When you’re facing criminal charges in Miami, time is of the essence. It’s important that you have the proper legal representation to ensure that you get the best outcome possible from your trial. At the Kirlew Law Firm, you, your family, and your business are what matter most to us. We want to ensure that you enjoy every advantage that our thorough and collaborative approach to criminal defense has to offer.
Brian Kirlew is here to represent you. You can schedule your free consultation with our criminal defense lawyers today to begin building a sound defense strategy.