What to Expect When Charged with Homicide in Florida

Being charged with homicide can be an incredibly harrowing event that can shake you to your core. Homicide is one of the most serious charges that can be levied against a person and can often carry highly severe consequences. Luckily, there are several important considerations and preparations that must be taken into account in order to ensure that you get the proper legal representation that you deserve. Being sufficiently educated on the specifics of the charges made against you, the options for legal representation and a host of other variables can be crucial in preparation for the eventual court hearing. 
A homicide charge is when you are being accused of the crime of murder. This charge is also often called manslaughter and can come in varying different forms, most often voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is usually defined as willingly murdering a person whereas involuntary usually covers accidental deaths. This is one of the most serious charges that can be given to a person and can incur a penalty of up to twenty years in prison if found guilty, depending on the specific contexts of the crime and whether or not you are being charged with voluntary homicide or involuntary homicide. An arrest warrant will certainly be made and bail may or may not be posted, depending once again on the type of homicide you are being charged with. With a charge of homicide, a bail upwards of one million dollars is not out of the realm of possibility, so be prepared to possibly lose thousands of dollars just to stay out of jail until the scheduled hearing. However, even if the bail is made, there could still be a myriad of other conditions placed upon you until your court hearing, such as having to give up your passport or even wear an ankle bracelet.

At the first hearing, which is often called the initial appearing, you will have the opportunity to put in a plea of guilty or not guilty. Felony cases also have what is called a preliminary hearing, which is where the judge decides whether or not to take this homicide felony charge to an actual trial. The evidence that has been gathered henceforth will be presented and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt does not apply at this preliminary hearing. Finally, if the judge decides there is sufficient evidence, your case will move onto the actual trial. For a felony, a jury of twelve of your peers will be present to evaluate whether or not the state meets the burden of proof in order to convict you.

There are a few very important caveats in dealing with this issue when you are charged within the state of Florida. Depending on the charge, a homicide guilty verdict can carry up to five years if involuntary and up to 20 years if voluntary. Luckily, if you are in the Tampa area, William Hanlon Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa provides legal representation and will defend your rights in a professional manner. William Hanlon is a Florida native and has over twenty years of experience, allowing him to have a deep and intimate knowledge of Florida state law that is priceless.

Overall, although being charged with homicide is a highly consequential event that can turn your life upside down overnight, taking the proper precautions and knowing your rights can be invaluable assets. Being aware of the ramifications, the seriousness of the charge, the steps that must be taken until the actual trial and knowing of the legal representation in your local area can be key in maintaining your innocence in a court of law.