If you are charged with killing another person, you face severe and lasting consequences. However, the legal system provides you the right to prove your innocence, and an attorney could help you prepare a defense best suited to defend your murder or manslaughter charges.
A Minnesota homicide lawyer who is familiar with how these cases proceed in the local court system could examine the circumstances of your charges to create a tailored, compelling defense. An attorney’s help could give you the best chance of preserving your freedom, so do not hesitate to reach out.
All murder charges involve the death of another person, but there are several categories within this crime. The degree of the defendant’s crime depends on their mental state and the circumstances surrounding the killing. An experienced homicide attorney in Minnesota could help the defendant receive a reduced charge or avoid a murder conviction altogether.
First Degree Murder
Under Minnesota Statute §609.185, someone commits murder in the first degree when they cause the death of another person with premeditation and with the intent to kill that person. Premeditation requires the defendant to have taken time to plan the killing. A person intends to kill when they perform an act they know will result in another person’s death.
First-degree murder is not limited to a premeditated, intentional killing of another person. A defendant can face first-degree murder charges in the following situations:
- Killing a police officer
- Killing a person while committing a violent sex offense
- The killing occurred during an arson, kidnapping, robbery, or burglary in the first degree
- Killing a minor during an act of child abuse
Second Degree Murder
When someone intentionally kills another person without premeditation, they can face a second-degree murder charge. Here, the intent to kill another person arises during the moments leading up to the act of the killing. While the defendant acted with the intent to kill another person, they did not plan to do so, and this reduces the charge from first to second-degree murder.
A person can also face second-degree murder charges when they commit certain felonies if they did not intend to cause death. The defendant can also face second-degree murders for deaths caused by a drive-by shooting.
Third Degree Murder
People whose dangerous actions cause a death are often charged with third-degree murder. In these cases, the prosecution must prove that the defendant’s behavior was so dangerous that it demonstrates a lack of regard for human life.
Defendants do not need to have intended to kill another person when committing the act. They can also be charged with third-degree murder when they provide a schedule one or two controlled substance to another person, and the controlled substance causes their death.
Someone may also face manslaughter charges when they kill another person. Similar to murder, there are several degrees of manslaughter. Regardless of the level of manslaughter, a person charged with this offense should contact a Minnesota homicide lawyer to help represent them.
First Degree Manslaughter
First-degree manslaughter often occurs when the defendant intentionally kills another person after being provoked by another’s words or actions. The interaction must have provoked a person of ordinary self-control in similar circumstances for the offense to be considered manslaughter.
First-degree manslaughter also covers a range of other actions resulting in the death of another person. A defendant can face first-degree manslaughter charges for:
- Killing another person during a misdemeanor
- Killing another person under the coercion of another person
- Providing schedule three, four, or five drugs that kill another person
- Killing a child when the defendant’s actions are not considered murder
Second Degree Manslaughter
A person can face criminal liability when they act negligently and their negligence results in another person’s death. Second-degree manslaughter requires the defendant’s negligence to create an unreasonable risk of harm that risks causing death or serious injury.
A Minnesota Homicide Attorney Could Help You Preserve Your Rights
Murder and manslaughter are serious charges that can be difficult to defend, especially without the help of the right attorney. If you are accused of killing another person, you should contact a Minnesota homicide lawyer as soon as you are made aware of your charges. Call today to schedule a consultation.