Homicide Defense Attorney
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Homicide is a term encompassing several types of criminal felonies resulting in the death of another person. Varying degrees of murder and manslaughter fall under the umbrella of homicide and carry heavy sentences based primarily on your intent, and the help of a good homicide defense attorney can make all the difference in a case.
If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge as serious as homicide, you will benefit from speaking to a homicide defense attorney. These cases are often complex and require a thorough understanding of federal and state laws on criminal cases. Without that knowledge, you will likely struggle to build a successful defense.
The benefits of having a homicide defense attorney are numerous. For starters, if a plea bargain is not reached and a trial is completed, a criminal defense attorney will be able to present the best possible case for you as it relates to the sentence that the judge hands down.
If you or someone you know is in need of a homicide defense attorney, please contact us at Phillips Law Group today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with us to review your situation. We take all cases on contingency which means there are no upfront costs, fees, or expenses for our services.
What Are the Types of Murder?
Murder is a criminal homicide that comes in various degrees based on intention:
- First-degree murder is the intentional killing of another person. It requires proof of deliberate and willful action. The two types of first-degree murder are premeditated, meaning planned in advance, and felony murder.
- Second-degree murder carries a life sentence and involves killing while committing another crime, such as robbery.
- Third-degree murder covers every other murder case and can carry a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
A murder conviction always carries a prison sentence, but how long depends on several factors, including the details of your case, state laws, and judge discretion. For example, some states may sentence a defendant convicted of first-degree murder to death.
What Are Types of Manslaughter?
Manslaughter is a charge carrying a significantly lower sentence than murder. However, it also has variations based on intention. The three types of manslaughter are:
- Vehicular manslaughter involves explicitly unintentional death related to an automobile accident. Speeding, racing, or any other unlawful conduct on the road resulting in the death of another could result in a charge of vehicular manslaughter.
- Voluntary manslaughter is the intentional form of manslaughter. However, if charged with voluntary manslaughter, the court did not recognize the death as a malice-motivated killing. For example, a crime of passion may result in a voluntary manslaughter charge.
- Involuntary manslaughter covers killings caused by gross negligence and carries a lesser sentence than voluntary manslaughter.
The penalty for manslaughter varies from state to state, but voluntary manslaughter typically results in a prison sentence.
Additionally, note that police and citizens receive different treatment in homicide cases. For example, if you kill a police officer, the charge in some states automatically increases to an aggravated charge, which carries a more severe punishment.
How Does Homicide Defense Work?
The homicide defense process follows the same basic steps as any criminal defense process. It starts with a meeting between you and your homicide defense attorney in which you share any documents pertaining to your case, including police reports. Then, your attorney will review those documents to search for any obvious defenses.
Next is discovery. During this phase, the defense and prosecution share information and argue what is and is not admissible during the trial. The prosecutor has a legal requirement to provide exculpatory evidence. Examples include:
- Any agreement made by the prosecution during plea negotiations
- Any evidence that a witness for the prosecution committed perjury on the stand
- Proof of discrimination, including racial or religious discrimination, against the defendant
- Disclosure of pending criminal charges against a witness
- Any evidence directly contradicting a witness deposition or testimony
The discovery process can be lengthy. It requires a significant amount of back and forth between both parties. It’s also where both parties may begin negotiating a plea deal.
If your attorney discovers any evidence of misconduct by police during the collection of evidence, they will request suppression hearings. During suppression hearings, your attorney will present proof that the police obtained evidence through a violation of your procedural rights, typically by acting without probable cause or a warrant. As a result, the judge will order any unlawfully obtained evidence excluded from the trial.
A critical role of a criminal defense attorney is to protect your rights. This skill for recognizing police violations is often one of the best defenses available to you.
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More Information on Homicide Defense
What Are the Most Common Types of Homicide Defenses?
How Can a Homicide Defense Attorney Help You?