When facing a homicide charge, it’s crucial to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer experienced in criminal defense will help ensure that your rights are protected and will provide guidance throughout the legal process. They can build a strong defense strategy, negotiate with the prosecution, and represent you in court.
The impact on defendants in homicide cases can be significant. Apart from potential imprisonment, defendants may face damage to their reputation, emotional distress, strained personal relationships, and long-term consequences on their employment prospects. The impact can vary depending on the outcome of the case, the evidence presented, and the defense’s effectiveness. That’s where we step in and guide you through the process and establish the best defense and advocate your side of the case.
In Washington State, homicide is the unlawful killing of a human being and is classified into different degrees based on the circumstances and intent of the act. The degrees of homicide determine the severity of the crime and the corresponding penalties.
First-degree murder is the most serious homicide offense in Washington State. It occurs when a person intentionally causes the death of another person with premeditation and deliberation. This means that the perpetrator planned and consciously decided to commit the act beforehand. The penalty for first-degree murder in Washington is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Second-degree murder occurs when a person intentionally causes the death of another person but lacks premeditation and deliberation. The act may still be intentional, but it happens in the heat of the moment or as a result of an impulsive decision. Second-degree murder can also occur during the commission of certain felonies, such as burglary or robbery. The punishment for second-degree murder is imprisonment for a term of life, or a fixed term of no less than twenty years.
Felony murder is a distinct form of homicide that doesn’t require proof of intent to kill. It occurs when a person commits or attempts to commit a certain dangerous felony, such as arson, rape, kidnapping, or robbery, and someone dies as a result, even if unintentionally. Under this doctrine, if a death occurs during the commission of a felony, all participants can be charged with felony murder, regardless of their individual intentions. The penalty for felony murder is a punishment for first-degree murder.
Manslaughter generally involves the unlawful killing of another person but lacks the specific intent required for murder. In Washington State, manslaughter is categorized into two degrees: voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person intentionally kills another person while under the influence of intense emotional disturbance. These emotional disturbances might be caused by certain events or circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to lose control. Voluntary manslaughter is a class 1 felony, and perpetrators typically face imprisonment for a term of up to twenty years.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person unintentionally causes the death of another person through reckless or negligent conduct, without premeditation or malice. This can include actions such as driving under the influence, reckless handling of a potentially dangerous weapon, or engaging in other unsafe activities. Involuntary manslaughter is a class 3 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
It’s important to note that these are general descriptions of the different degrees of homicide in Washington State, and the actual legal circumstances may vary. The penalties mentioned are also subject to change and may vary on a case-by-case basis.
At Northwest Law, we will advocate for you every step of the way to get the best resolution possible. We understand that at this time your life and future are in our hands. We view it as our duty and responsibility to provide you with the best possible representation. No matter the facts of your case we will fight for you and be your mouthpiece in the court and media. We are never afraid to take a case to trial and at the end of the day it’s your life and you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to resolving your case or taking it to trial.