Murder is considered to be one of the most serious, if not the most serious, crime with which you can be charged. If you are charged with homicide, you could face years in prison or even the death penalty. 

Because of the severe punishments associated with this crime, it is important that you retain competent legal counsel immediately. A criminal defense lawyer can represent you throughout the case and may be able to help you avoid punishments like a lengthy jail sentence.

 Levels of Homicide Charges

People who are accused of committing homicide typically are charged with first or second degree murder, manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter. First degree homicide, also referred to as Murder 1, is considered to be the most serious of murder charges. People who are found guilty of Murder 1 could face life in prison or, if their state has capital punishment, the death penalty. 

First degree homicide itself can be charged as premeditated murder or felony murder. Premeditated means that someone planned or conspired to commit the crime while felony murder implies that the murder occurred during the commission of another felony crime like:

  • Entering and breaking
  • Selling narcotics
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • First degree child abuse
  • Carjacking
  • Stalking

Second degree homicide is also considered to be serious; however, it may carry with it a lesser sentence. Someone who is found guilty of Murder 2 may spend a number of years in prison, but not be sentenced to natural life in jail. To levy a charge of Murder 2, prosecutors must prove that:

  • A murder took place
  • The defendant committed the murder
  • The accused acted without malice
  • The defendant acted without excuse or justification for the murder

Unlike Murder 1 and 2, manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter imply that the homicide occurred without premeditation. Manslaughter is sometimes called a murder that is committed in the heat of the moment or a crime of passion. Manslaughter is often punished with jail sentences as long as 15 years.

Involuntary manslaughter is a murder that is committed because of an accidental crime. For example, a drunk driver who collides with and kills another driver may be charged with involuntary manslaughter. This crime likewise can carry sentences of up to 15 years in jail. 

Hiring an Attorney to Represent You

Murder cases require the utmost care and attention when being argued in court. The omission of the smallest detail could make all of the difference in you being sentenced to probation or even being found not guilty to you spending years in jail for a crime you did not commit. 

Because every detail counts in the building of your case, you should hire a criminal defense attorney immediately after you have been charged with homicide. Your lawyer can get to work gathering evidence and collecting information that will help defend you in court. Your counsel may even be able to argue down the charges against you or have the charges thrown out of court entirely.

Murder is one of the most serious crimes with which you can be charged. Before you head to court, you need a reliable attorney by your side. Your lawyer can defend you in front of the judge and jury and also protect you from unfair and severe punishments.

Criminal Defense Attorney Ronald J. YengichRonald J. Yengich

Criminal Defense and occasional political trials. Mr. Yengich represented a former Salt Lake County Treasurer, Art Monsoon; a Salt Lake County Commissioner; a Salt Lake City Mayor; a Congressman of the United States of America; Anti-Shah protestors during the Carter administration; numerous judges, prosecutors, police officers and an occasional innocent citizen.

Contact us today for a consultation!

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