Festus, MO Homicide & Murder Defense Attorneys Defending You From Homicide Charges
The killing of another human being is a serious crime anywhere. In Missouri, however, it’s one of the most serious crimes that a person can commit, and the state treats it as such. Because of that hardline stance, the government almost always tries for the maximum penalty possible in these cases.
The state government and the prosecution are not concerned with what your reasons were for taking someone’s life. You may have killed someone in self-defense and perhaps you believe you can prove that. That does not necessarily change the stance of the state.
In most instances, the standard belief is a life for a life. The accusation and the verdict will go on your record, and it will likely remain there permanently. That is why, if you’ve been accused of killing someone, you need to seek the best legal help you can find. The stakes are as high as they can be for both you and your loved ones.
At Grafe & Batchelor Attorneys at Law, we are experienced criminal defense lawyers who are dedicated to defending people accused of murder and/or manslaughter. Call us today at 636-933-9151 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.
What Constitutes Homicide Offenses in Missouri?
In its most basic terms, homicide is defined as the act of intentionally or unintentionally killing another person. Because that is a broad definition, the state of Missouri recognizes that homicides can be divided into different types and categories, and understanding the differences and distinctions between them can make all the difference in your defense.
According to Missouri’s Revised Statute 565.020, “a person commits the crime of murder in the first degree if he knowingly causes the death of another person after deliberation on the matter.”
Given the parameters of that statute, for your case to be tried as a first degree murder, two key components must be present:
- The demise of a person
- A clear and premeditated intent to take that person’s life
In first-degree murder cases, the job of the prosecution is to attempt to prove that the actions of the accused were premeditated and that they knowingly decided to take that person’s life.
A clear example of first-degree murder would be the kidnapping and killing of a person in a designated location. A crime like this would show that the accused had the clear intention of killing someone (even if that person were a stranger) and had opportunities to change their mind.
In second-degree murder cases, the accused often knowingly kills someone; however, it can also apply if the intention to inflict grievous bodily harm on a person instead results in their death.
Someone can also be found guilty of second-degree murder if they killed someone while carrying out an illegal act or while they were trying to escape after the fact.
Another example that applies: if two people get in a fight and one person has the upper hand, they can be found guilty of second-degree murder if they continue to assault the other party resulting in the death of the other person.
The mindset (meaning the thoughts and actions) leading up to this type of murder can be either rational or irrational. Frequently, the most significant difference between second-degree and first-degree murder is the lack of premeditation.
What About Manslaughter?
There are two types of manslaughter cases:
- Voluntary manslaughter is a type of second-degree murder that includes the element of passion as defined by the law. It usually involves killing another person in the “heat of the moment” or in a fit of rage. This charge also applies to anyone who helps someone commit self-murder.
- Involuntary manslaughter involves causing the death of someone through criminal negligence. An example of this would be a driver veering into a pedestrian lane and running a pedestrian down because they were texting on the phone and weren’t looking at the road.
What are the Penalties for Murder/Homicide in Missouri?
The penalties for homicides are severe across the spectrum. First-degree murder cases are Class A felonies. Because of that, they have some of the most severe penalties. Missouri is a death penalty state, and these charges often result in the death penalty or life in prison.
Second-degree murder cases can be prosecuted as either Class A or B felonies. They are frequently Class B felonies in cases of voluntary manslaughter, but that decision is made primarily in reference to the details of the individual case.
However, penalties for second–degree murder typically include 10-30 years or life in prison. Voluntary manslaughter often results in a 5-15 year prison sentence.
Involuntary manslaughter is prosecuted as a Class C felony, and it can come with a sentence of up to 7 years in prison and/or a monetary fine.
You Need Competent Legal Help
From your life, to your freedom, to your relationships with friends and family, everything you love is at stake in a homicide case. That is why you need competent and seasoned criminal defense attorneys who have experience in homicide trials.
Grafe & Batchelor Attorneys at Law are highly skilled criminal defense lawyers in Jefferson County, MO. We have decades of experience, which gives us the ability to help you get a favorable outcome in your homicide case.
You deserve all the help you can get, and it should come from accomplished and dedicated attorneys who have experience with cases like this. Contact us today at 636-933-9151 to schedule a free consultation.