One of the greatest jobs of every government is to protect its citizens from harm. Thus, the states have formulated extremely punitive laws to discourage people from inflicting pain or injuries on others. Homicide particularly covers all incidences where a life is lost, and the penalties are not anything you would wish for.
Quality defense from a Seattle criminal justice attorney can save you from consequences such as life imprisonment and high fines. A sentence with no possibility of parole isn’t something an accused person should take lightly. Putting a good fight in the courtroom can produce great outcomes.
What Can I be Convicted with if My Defense Loses?
A homicide case can end up in a number of ways, depending on the evidence that the prosecutor finds and brings to the trial.
This comes to people that had pre-meditated intentions, showed disregard for human life, acted in ways that would put others in great danger, or a felony committed resulted in the death of a victim.
Aggravated First-Degree Murder
This can happen when there are aggravating circumstances in the first-degree murder case. For instance, if the murder was a drive-by shooting, or if the victim was a law enforcement officer.
This conviction comes when you intended to commit the murder, but did not pre-meditate it. It also comes when someone died when you were committing a felony not listed under first-degree murder.
Homicide by Abuse
This happens when a pattern or habit of abuse results in the death of a dependent adult, a developmentally disabled person, a person under 16 years, or a child.
This comes to drivers that cause death while driving drunk, driving recklessly, or driving with disregard to the safety of others.
The homicide can take this direction if someone died out of your recklessness or an unborn child dies because of injuries you inflicted on the mother.
This comes if death happens due to criminally negligent actions.
While a homicide lawyer in Seattle cannot guarantee the outcome of your case, a weak defense is highly likely to result in a conviction in one of the above categories.
How Can One Defend Themselves Against Homicide Charges?
Interestingly, some types of homicides are actual defenses, and not crimes that come with some form of punishment. They include:
This is when you accidentally cause a person’s death while doing lawful acts that had no unlawful, negligent, or criminal intent.
Justifiable Homicide by Officers
A peace or public officer might be justified to use deadly force while enforcing a court order, or apprehending a person reasonably believed to have committed or attempted to commit a crime.
Justifiable Homicide by Other People
Your actions might be justified if you had reasons to believe that someone in your company, a sibling, child, parent, or spouse, was planning to commit a felony or cause you serious injuries. This could be them breaking into your house or doing something that puts you in imminent danger.
A different defense approach can be used by a homicide lawyer in Seattle for vehicular homicide charges in Washington State. The specific defense option for a case depends on what transpired before the accident. But generally, the arguments that can be used to escape a conviction include:
- The injuries that led to the victim’s death were not the ones caused by the collision
- You, as the driver was not responsible for the collision
- The sobriety tests are flawed because you had not consumed any drugs or alcohol
- You were not driving recklessly or endangering the lives of others, and what happened was an accident
What Do I Stand to Lose with a Weak Defense?
It is impossible to build a strategic defense without extensive experience. Also, if you hire an attorney that treats your case like “just another case number,” chances are that they may not pay close attention to the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
And if the defense team fails to convince the jury of your innocence or weaknesses in the prosecutor’s arguments, you might be convicted. The consequences are as follows:
- First-Degree Murder – Being a Class A felony, the offense is punishable by life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.
- Aggravated First-Degree Murder – This is also a Class A felony, and can come with a death penalty in Seattle, without parole.
- Second-Degree Murder – It attracts fines of up to $50,000, and confinement can go up to life imprisonment.
- Homicide by Abuse – Convicts in this category risk spending the rest of their lives in prison and fines as high as $50,000.
- Vehicular Homicide– The penalties for this charge in Washington are one of the highest in the country. A conviction can attract life imprisonment, a fine of $50,000, probation, and installation of ignition interlocks.
- First-Degree Manslaughter – A guilty verdict here can see you parting with up to $50,000 in fines and comes with the possibility of life imprisonment.
- Second-Degree Manslaughter – This is the only Class B felony among all homicide charges. The maximum sentence is ten years, and the fines can go up to $20,000.
Ten years or life imprisonment can all affect the quality of your life, and can impact your family more significantly. These harsh consequences are all avoidable and can be minimized with the help of a homicide lawyer in Seattle.
An Attorney Providing Defense Representation in Washington State
Accused persons often stress about the worst possible scenarios in a homicide case, instead of taking proactive steps towards building a proper defense. And sometimes, you can be charged with a very serious crime, yet your actions do not meet the threshold of the crime.
Homicide cases are best handled with the assistance of a seasoned Seattle criminal defense attorney. You will not only be at ease, but you will also get fairer outcomes like an acquittance or dismissal. Talk to a legal defense expert today to discuss your accusations.