Homicide is one of the most serious crimes one can be charged with. The killing of one person by another is taken seriously by the courts, but many people underestimate their own cases. Even if you believe that a homicide was justified, you could still find yourself in court facing charges.
Have you been charged with homicide? Do you think you might be charged in the future? This is what you need to know.
What Are Murder Charges?
Murder charges stem from allegations of intentional killing of a person. There are several types of murder charges you could face.
First-degree murder is the most serious form of homicide and alleges that the defendant acted deliberately and with premeditation. An individual charged with murder in the first degree could face the death penalty in some states or life in prison.
One step below that is second-degree murder. You could face these charges if you did not plan or premeditate a murder but did intend to kill somebody. Punishments for second-degree murder can result in a life sentence in some cases.
Some states also have felony murder laws. In these states, a defendant can face homicide charges if they are committing a crime with a group of people and somebody in the group kills another person. In many of these cases, you could face a trial with the rest of the group.
What Are Manslaughter Charges?
Manslaughter charges do not require planning or intent to kill, which makes it less serious than murder but still quite urgent if you are facing such charges.
Those who face voluntary manslaughter charges are those accused of participating in a death that results from the "heat of passion." For instance, one might incur voluntary manslaughter charges if they kill somebody in the middle of a fight that erupts at a bar.
Some people face charges of involuntary manslaughter. These charges result from an unintentional killing that stems from recklessness or negligence. For instance, somebody driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can face these charges on top of other DUI or DWI charges.
What Should You Do Next?
Many people think that if they are innocent, they do not need to hire an attorney. It is important that you consult with an attorney whether you are facing murder or manslaughter charges. You could be in over your head without realizing it. Set up a consultation with a criminal defense attorney today for more information.