Homicide is a general category under the law that includes many different kinds of killing—both intentional and accidental. In either case, the potential penalties are severe and require a comprehensive criminal defense. A skilled Edina homicide lawyer could work to ensure your constitutional rights are protected throughout the criminal process.
If you or a loved one are facing charges for homicide, do not delay in seeking legal counsel. An experienced attorney could advocate on your behalf and guide you through the legal process.
The Difference Between Murder and Homicide
Homicide is a general term that refers to the killing of another individual. A murder, accidental killing, or manslaughter may fall into this general definition. No one charge under state law is called “homicide,” but it instead refers to these types of offenses.
A murder occurs with “malice aforethought.” This means some type of planning or intent to kill a person rather than an accidental or spur-of-the-moment killing. Several types of murder charges exist under state law, each with varying severity and associated punishments.
First-Degree Murder Charges in Edina
Minnesota Statute § 609.185 defines Murder in the First Degree. This is typically considered the most serious homicide charge and can occur under any of the following conditions:
- An alleged killing is the result of domestic abuse when a pattern of abuse exists
- The killing of a child under repeated instances of abuse
- The killing a police officer, deputy, judge, prosecutor, guard at a prison or other detention center when acting in their official capacities
- The killing a witness to prevent their testimony
- Premeditated murder
- Murder during a sexual assault, burglar, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and other crimes
A conviction for first-degree murder has severe criminal penalties. An individual convicted of this offense could face many years in prison, or even a life sentence. Since 1911, there has been no death penalty in the state, but a life sentence not to be taken lightly. A seasoned homicide attorney could work to have an individual’s charges reduced to avoid the most severe penalties.
A second-degree murder can occur when an alleged intentional killing happens without premeditation or when:
- An accidental death occurs in a drive-by shooting
- An unintentional killing when engaged in a violent felony
- An individual kills someone while trying to injure them if there was an order barring contact with that person
This murder charge is less serious than a first-degree murder charge, but it could still result in up to forty years in prison upon conviction. An Edina attorney well-versed in homicide cases could put forth a strong defense in court that aims to mitigate criminal punishments.
Third-Degree Murder Charges
Third degree murder cases do not require any intent to kill the other person. This is often described as “depraved mind” murder, and occurs when a person is reckless in their actions and has no care for the potential death that could occur. Such a situation might occur if a person wildly fires in and around a crowd with no specific intention to kill. A third-degree murder charge could result in up to twenty-five years in prison.
Manslaughter is a type of homicide charge that occurs when there is a killing with no intent or malice aforethought. Even cases of extreme passion or negligence could result in a manslaughter charge. Under state law, there are two types of manslaughter charges:
- First-Degree Manslaughter: This is often called a “heat of passion” type of manslaughter where an extreme emotional event is what precipitates the killing.
- Second-Degree Manslaughter: This level of charge occurs when there is reckless behavior that leads to a person’s death.
While less serious than murder charges, manslaughter accusations can leave a defendant facing very severe penalties if convicted. It is crucial to seek the counsel of a skilled attorney in Edina when facing manslaughter or any other homicide charges.
Do Not Wait to Contact an Edina Homicide Attorney
Homicide charges of all kinds are extremely serious and require a powerful criminal defense. Multiple strategies exist that may help defend your case, protect your rights, and may even result in the reduction or dismissal of the charges. An Edina homicide lawyer could help you build a robust defense and defend your rights in court. Call today to get started.