I killed someone, but I didn’t mean to. Will I go to jail?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2022 | Criminal Defense Process |

The thought of taking another life is horrific. The threat of jail is even worse. If you have killed another human being, you may or may not face a prison sentence depending on the circumstances.

Police look at everything they can find before deciding whether to charge you. They want to know if you acted in a premeditated way or if you acted with a depraved mind.

Facing a threat of harm or death can be a defense

Florida has the “Stand Your Ground” law that says you do not have to retreat if you are in a place where it is legal for you to be. You can use deadly force to defend yourself and those you love. The court presumes that you have reasonable fear even if you did not feel afraid at the time.

Oftentimes the police will not even charge you with a crime, even if you shot someone. In other circumstances, however, you will have to prove that the homicide was excusable.

Excusable homicide is also a defense

The courts may rule the homicide you committed is excusable if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • You acted lawfully at the time, and what happened was accidental.
  • You acted in the heat of passion and the other person’s death was an accident.
  • You got into a sudden fight and the person died accidentally. Also, you did not use a dangerous weapon and you were not acting in a cruel way.

It is never lawful to intentionally take another human life. Still, you will not face jail if the other person’s death was accidental or an act of self-defense.