A Serious, High-stakes Homicide Case is Not a Job for Just Anybody
It seems like every single day there’s a new headline in the press or a news story on TV highlighting an unfortunate homicide case. The fact that one human is able to kill another human being is alarming and draws a lot of negative attention. Homicide is not something a person wants to be famous for, let alone be involved in. The consequences that arise from homicide cases can be anything from lengthy prison sentences to death penalties. It is critical to the outcome of the trial to have experienced criminal defense attorneys by your side.
You may be wondering, what is homicide? Homicide is an umbrella term used to describe a diverse array of offenses that a person can be charged with if the defendant caused the death of another human being. Many times the term homicide is used interchangeably with the term, “murder.” To be clear, murder is a form of homicide that involves killing with intent. You might have also heard of the term, “manslaughter,” which is also a form of homicide where the person had the intent to harm but not to kill.
As you can tell, although the concept of a human killing another human seems simple, there are actually many types of such killing and some of those might not even be considered criminal.
Murder charges occur when there is intent to kill the victim. As the most serious type of killing, the murder charges are commonly classified into either a first-degree murder or a second-degree murder. A first-degree murder is both premeditated and intentional. This means that there was planning involved to intentionally kill the victim. Often the defense of first degree murders fall into two categories: claims that the defendant did not commit the killing of the victim or that the defendant killed the victim, but it does not fall under the qualities of a first-degree murder. They may even use the defense that they committed the murder as a form of self-defense. Second-degree murder is intentional killing that was not premeditated or resulted from the offender’s lack of concern for human life while having dangerous conduct. Some common defenses used to defend second-degree murder are intoxication, self-defense, or in rare cases, the plea of insanity.
Manslaughter is the killing of a person with intent to harm but not necessarily to take their life away. This is a lesser killing crime and is classified into two categories: involuntary and voluntary. Voluntary manslaughter constitutes a killing that was done in the “heat of the moment.” This may often be justified with the plea that the killing unintentionally resulted as a consequence to self-defense. Offenders often feel that their murder was justified and they would have be harmed themselves if they did not defend themselves. Involuntary manslaughter occurs when there is negligence for the concern of human life when partaking in a dangerous behavior. Some common defenses to second-degree manslaughter are the victim’s death was caused by accident, the offender was falsely accused, or again self defense.
Not all homicide is criminal. Sometimes homicide can be justified. In this circumstance there was no intent by the offender to kill the victim. This might occur when the offender feels threatened and the victim was killed as a consequence of self-defense. There must be evidence that the individual had a reasonable fear for their life, a fear for another person’s life, or the other person was about to commit a serious crime that would have caused the death or serious injury to the individual.
The consequences of homicide cases vary depending on the jurisdiction. Almost all result in imprisonment, probation, or fines. In very serious cases, some states may have the option of utilizing the death penalty on the defendant. No matter what, homicide charges greatly put a burden and impel fear. The result of the trial will be life changing regardless of the severity. There is a lot at stake in life and a lot that can be done to give the best possible outcome if put in the right hands.
Orlando murder defense attorney, Mark O’Mara has seen it all. The founder of the O’Mara Law Group has had over 35 years of experience in criminal defense, is a board certified, and has served as a Seminole State prosecutor. He has recently been accredited to being the defense lawyer of George Zimmerman in the nationally infamous Trayvon Martin homicide trial.
A criminal case is drastically different from just any regular case. There is a lot at stake; imprisonment, fines, and other life-changing consequences are put on the line. This is not a job for anyone. Persecutors are going to be tenacious and you need a team by your side that will counter the fight with greater tenacity. The right attorney could make a huge difference in helping to limit your exposure to the severe consequences that come with this type of conviction. Make sure you do your research on the attorney that’s right fit for you.