Murder charges can change the entire life of those facing them. Even before a conviction, the public scrutiny that usually surrounds such cases can lead to a loss of income, family, and resources. When convicted for murder, your penalties can range from prison time to loss of your life. This is the reason you need to hire a Jersey City criminal defense attorney to defend you against these charges. The best attorney to work with will advocate for you and take advantage of any resources available to get your charges dropped.
How to Defend Yourself Against Murder Charges
The most serious murder classification is first-degree murder. This can lead to 30 years in prison. In general, first-degree homicides include killings that happen with premeditation. For instance, you can be charged with first-degree murder when you deliberately decide to kill a person.
Another kind of first-degree homicide is the killing that takes place when a person commits another felony. For you to be convicted, the state should prove you took part in a felony crime and the murder happened while you committed this. You can still be convicted even if you did not kill the victim yourself. First-degree murder comes with penalties such as life imprisonment and capital punishment or the death penalty. These are life-changing penalties, so you need to secure representation from a skilled defense lawyer.
Penalties for Second-Degree Murder
Second-degree murder can also carry significant penalties. This type of murder is homicide committed knowingly; however, without premeditation. It includes homicide that resulted from several incidents of domestic abuse and a homicide that occurred due to the illegal distribution or sale of drugs.
When convicted of second-degree murder, you can be sentenced to around 10-20 years in prison and up to $150, 000 in fines. The level of punishment and the length of the sentence are affected by the circumstances that surround the killing. Your lawyer understands such charges and can fight against them for you.
Why You Still Need Legal Defense for Lesser Degree Murder Charges
Lesser-degree murder charges include voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. If you are charged with voluntary manslaughter, your attorney must prove that you were provoked to become emotionally or mentally disturbed and killed someone. Also, they must prove there wasn’t enough time for you to cool off. Meanwhile, voluntary manslaughter occurs when you kill someone without the intent of doing it. Although these charges are lesser than first-degree murder, they may still carry serious consequences.