While most people think that any kind of homicide is a crime, there are some instances where it’s not considered a crime. An example would be self-defense as long as there is enough evidence to show that you committed the act because you were in fear for your life. However, most of the time, homicide is considered murder. If you are charged with homicide, then it’s important to contact an attorney who can devise a strong defense for your trial. If enough evidence can be presented in court, then the charges could be reduced or dismissed. Your attorney should be one who specializes in criminal defense so that you spend as little time in prison as possible if you are convicted of homicide.
In order for you to be charged with homicide, there need to be elements of negligence and intent involved in the act. There are several different levels of homicide including manslaughter up to first-degree murder. Manslaughter is the killing of another person without an intent to kill that person while first-degree murder involves careful planning to kill another person. The difference between the two is that one is done in an accidental manner without a clear intent while the other is done after thinking about the action and having a clear victim in mind. The possible sentences for homicide will vary depending on the exact crime that you are charged with and your criminal history. The type of victim can also play a part in your sentence as the killing of a police officer or another type of law enforcement official carries a longer sentence than killing a next-door neighbor.
For some homicide charges, there are states that will initiate the death sentence or life in prison compared to some states that only use the death penalty for homicide convictions. There are also states that have special psychiatric centers where people can stay for the duration of their sentence if they present with a mental illness. These are reasons why it’s important to find an attorney who has your best interests in mind and who will work to present as much information and evidence as possible so that you spend as little time in prison as possible and so that you aren’t met with the death penalty.
There are a few defenses to first-degree murder that can be presented. The first is to try to show that the prosecution has the wrong person on trial and that someone else committed the crime instead of you. Another common defense is that you committed the crime but did so in an act of self-defense. You would then need to have evidence that points to an act committed against you that made you fear for your safety, such as someone entering your home. The insanity defense can also be used in court if you can prove that you acted out of mental anguish or that you didn’t know what you were doing at the time. Any health records that can link a mental disorder can be beneficial as well.
If you are convicted of homicide and you are unable to use an insanity defense or another type of defense that would result in time not spent in prison, then your attorney can appeal in order to buy you a bit more time to find other evidence. Some states use both the death penalty and life in prison depending on the criminal history and the nature of the crime. Someone who kills multiple people at once or who uses explosive devices would likely be sentenced to death compared to someone sentenced to life who killed only one person in a car accident.