You can be charged with homicide anytime your actions take the life of another person. In Delaware, there are six types of criminal homicide:
- First-degree murder.
- Second-degree murder.
- Murder by abuse or neglect.
- Criminal manslaughter.
- Criminally negligent homicide.
- Vehicular homicide.
In Delaware, any form of homicide is harshly dealt with, including the most severely punished form of criminal homicide: first-degree murder. However, many of these charges can land you in prison for decades and impose high-dollar fines.
You should also note that first-degree murder is not a cut-and-dry charge and can be committed and charged in numerous ways.
Some of the actions that could impose a first-degree murder charge are:
- Intentionally causing the death of any other person.
- Recklessly causing the death of another person while engaged in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit any felony.
- Intentionally causing another to commit suicide by force, coercion, or intimidation.
- Recklessly causing the death of a law enforcement officer, corrections employee, firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical tech, or any official personnel while they are in the lawful performance of duties.
- Causing the death of another person with the use of a bomb or a similar destructive device.
- Causing the death of another person to avoid or prevent your lawful arrest or while committing an escape.
You need to note that the differences between these six types of murder are at times unclear, and the penalties you face can be altered by just the slightest details of your case. They are all felony crimes, but lessening or having your charges reduced to a lesser felony can affect the amount of time you spend in prison.
Your Delaware criminal defense lawyer will analyze all the pertinent details of your case and always look for ways to mitigate your charges downward or have them dropped altogether.
What is Delaware’s “Felony Murder Rule,” and How Can It Affect My Case?
Criminal homicide and even first-degree murder in Delaware can be committed in various ways. One of the main ways you can be charged is by the court utilizing the “felony murder rule.” The felony murder rule will apply to your case if someone dies during or shortly after the commission (or attempted commission) of a felony due to your reckless conduct.
Most people believe that a conviction of any type of homicide requires being killed intentionally. However, under the “felony murder rule,” you can be convicted of murder even if you didn’t intend to cause the other person’s death. The state is punishing you with dangerous and reckless behavior that puts the other person at risk during the commission of a felony.
This is an extraordinarily complex legal area and where the expertise of your Delaware criminal defense lawyer will prove to be invaluable. There are numerous defenses your lawyer may use, including getting your charges dropped altogether. More commonly, though, if you’ve been charged with any of the six types of homicide, your lawyer will attempt to get your charges reduced to a lesser charge that will impose far less jail time.
How Can My Criminal Defense Lawyer Have My Charges Reduced?
After reviewing all the charges and details involved in your specific case, one example would be to prove that the homicide was committed when you were under extreme emotional distress.
There are cases that a criminal homicide that meets the qualifications for a first-degree murder charge but could be mitigated downward to the lesser crime of manslaughter. Suppose you acted under “extreme emotional distress” but still intentionally caused the death of another person while you were experiencing extreme emotional distress. In that case, it may be sufficient to reduce your crime to manslaughter.
However, you must prove that there is a reasonable explanation or excuse for the existence of your extreme emotional distress. A typical example of killing under severe emotional distress is if you came home and found your wife in bed with another person. You may kill the other person in the heat of passion, which could get you charged with manslaughter.
You can begin to see how complex a defense can be. Many details need to be researched, analyzed, and proven. When a professional criminal defense lawyer formulates your defense, you will have the best chance for a positive outcome for your case.
How Can My Ohio Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?
No matter what type of homicide charge you face in Ohio, you must know that the stakes are exceedingly high. The rest of your life, and that of your family, could be altered.
Your criminal defense lawyer, and their team, will have the resources to do a vast number of things to protect you and your rights.
Some examples of their actions are researching all the facts, investigating the case against you, and negotiating deals with prosecutors. These deals could include reduced bail, reduced charges, and reduced sentences. Due to several factors, both political and public pressure, overcrowded jails, and overloaded court calendars,’ striking deals on your behalf has significantly grown in importance.
Your experienced criminal defense lawyer will also examine witnesses, help formulate defense or plea, analyze all aspects of the prosecutor’s case, and assess the potential sentences you may face. Reviewing the search and seizure procedures gathering evidence for your defense is another reasonable means of ensuring your rights are always protected.
Never underestimate the severity of a homicide charge, and the only way to fully protect your future is with the help of an experienced, empathetic, and professional Delaware criminal defense legal team.
I Have Been Charged With Murder in Ohio; How Should I Proceed?
Whatever you do, you must remember that when facing Ohio’s highly severe consequences for homicide, you should never face them alone. A qualified and proven criminal defense lawyer will communicate with law enforcement, analyze your case thoroughly and determine the best and most aggressive way to protect your freedom and rights.
The Law Offices of Brian Jones has a winning history of fighting for and successfully establishing defense strategies for Ohio clients facing highly challenging situations. Brian Jones is experienced and has defended clients in all the Ohio courts and will do anything legally necessary to prove your innocence and protect your freedom.
Consult with the Law Offices of Brian Jones first and provide yourself and your family with a professionally developed defense that will help ensure your future freedom.