Homicide: Various Degrees and Definitions

February 22, 2013 · by Albany Criminal Attorneys · in

Homicide isn’t limited to just one type of crime or one type of death. Homicides involve defendants who were involved in an accident that killed a person, and they can also be charged with intentional homicide or self-defense homicide. Not every homicide results in the death penalty, and in some cases, no punishment is given. The type of sentencing, punishments, prison time and other factors depend on the facts of what happened. No matter what type of court trial involving homicide, it will be a long process with complex proceedings and questioning.

First Degree Murder

Every homicide has a degree that will determine the punishment for the crime. First degree is the highest punishment. This is when a defendant is charged with purposefully killing someone. One example is when someone visits a person with the intent to cause deathly harm even if there is no weapon involved.

Death Penalty

Death penalty statutes in the united states2

Most states still have the death penalty. Some regard this to be the ultimate punishment for particularly heinous crimes. However, the death penalty only applies to first-degree murders. To issue a death penalty sentences, certain criteria has to be involved. The defendant must have killed more than one person or killed a police officer in most states to warrant the death penalty. However, state laws do vary on the requirements for the death penalty. In some cases, killing someone for money can also lead to a death penalty sentence.

Other Degrees of Homicide

Even if the homicide wasn’t intentional, lesser degrees exist for homicide. Second-degree murder occurs when the defendant accidentally kills someone while committing another crime. In one instance, if a person breaks into someone’s home and shoots at the homeowner killing him when surprised, the defendant can be charged with a second-degree murder.

Manslaughter is another degree that has fewer consequences. When an accident or careless behavior leads to the death of someone, the defendant can be charged with manslaughter. This may happen because of a DUI in which the person hit died as a result of the car accident.

In Terms of Self-Defense

If you happen to kill someone while protecting yourself, you can be charged with a less degree of homicide but receive no punishment. However, you have to prove that killing the person was a result of your own life being in danger. For example if someone tries to rob your home and attempts to attack you, shooting them may result in death, in which case you can use self-defense.

Criminal lawyers can seriously help defendants in homicide trials. Negotiating to lesser degrees of homicide is an important part of criminal defense and can seriously help someone avoid the death penalty. With a knowledgeable defense, defendants can approach a homicide trial with the best information and a partner to negotiate the complex procedure involved in this court process.

Guest author Mario Madrid knows that being convicted of a crime can extremely damage a person’s life. He opened up the law firm, Madrid Law, to help people who have been falsely accused of crimes. Mario promises to provide the best criminal defense to dismiss or greatly reduce the charges for all his clients.

 

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