If you are being investigated for or charged with causing someone else’s death, you may need an experienced defense attorney to provide representation as soon as possible. Regardless of the situation, the killing of another person can carry harsh penalties and alter the course of your life. DeKalb County homicide lawyers understand the criminal justice system and could offer the help you need to defend yourself throughout the process, from the moment you are under suspicion through trial, if necessary.
In general, homicide is the killing of another person. However, under the law, homicide is an overall category consisting of three offenses:
Understanding how the facts of a case fit these legal categories may be crucial to crafting an effective defense and arguing for reductions in charges. Seasoned homicide attorneys regularly engage in such analyses and are accustomed to interacting with prosecutors and judges about these issues.
The Official Code of Georgia § 16-5-1 defines murder as the intentional killing of another or acting with depraved indifference to others’ safety, resulting in their demise. Any death that occurs while a felony is being committed, such as armed robbery or kidnapping, also amounts to murder. Unlike some states, Georgia does not distinguish between degrees of murder, with one exception. A child’s death that results from cruelty, without or without intent, could be a second-degree felony. The minimum sentence for committing murder is life imprisonment, but offenders may also receive sentences of life imprisonment without parole or death. Second-degree murder is punishable by ten to 30 years in prison.
The law differentiates between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, separately defining each offense and providing discrete punishments.
Voluntary manslaughter is murder with one critical distinguishing factor: the perpetrator’s state of mind. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-2 explains that a person commits voluntary manslaughter if the death occurs because of sudden, violent, and uncontrollable emotions. An example of this type of crime of passion is killing a spouse and their lover caught in a compromising position. However, if the offender has enough time to cool down and reconsider yet still commits the act, they may find themselves charged with murder. The punishment for this crime is one to 20 years in prison.
Involuntary manslaughter, described in O.C.G.A. § 16-5-3, is the unintentional killing of someone due to an unlawful (other than a felony) or lawful but reckless act. For instance, authorities may charge a driver with involuntary manslaughter if someone dies in an accident caused by that person who was texting and driving. The sentence for a death caused by illegal conduct ranges from imprisonment for one to ten years. When a lawful act causes death, the offense is a misdemeanor punishable up to a year incarcerated.
All forms of homicide carry significant sentences in the state. Those facing such allegations should not attempt to defend themselves without a DeKalb County attorney knowledgeable about homicide law and the criminal justice system.
The prospect of losing your freedom to incarceration is terrifying and real. Defendants who attempt to interact with investigators and the court system on their own put their freedom and futures at risk. While there are no guarantees in life, DeKalb County homicide lawyers could work tirelessly to defend you to achieve the best resolution for your situation. Contact us today.