Homicide Defense Attorney in Kennewick, Washington
Being accused of or charged with any crime is overwhelming—but when it’s as serious as a homicide charge, you deserve the support of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney who will fight for your future. Attorney Nicholas George believes that justice is best served by criminal defense attorneys, like him, who always puts their clients first, regardless of what accusations or charges occur.
If you have been charged with a homicide crime in Kennewick, Spokane, Walla Walla, Benton County, or Franklin County, Washington, don’t face the law alone. Nicholas George Law Firm PLLC will use experience and knowledge to partner with you, whether you believe you are innocent, guilty, or fall somewhere into those shades of gray.
What Is Homicide?
Homicide is an umbrella term, encompassing both lawful and unlawful taking of a human life. Although “murder” and “manslaughter” may be the first terms that come to mind when you hear the word, homicide includes such actions as death penalty executions, as well as taking lives during a sanctioned war.
Some forms of homicide, however, are criminal offenses. Moreover, homicides range by degree of severity, intent, and planning.
Washington statute defines homicide as “….the killing of a human being by an act, procurement, or omission of another, death occurring at any time, and is either (1) murder, (2) homicide by abuse, (3) manslaughter, (4) excusable homicide, or (5) justifiable homicide.”
It is important that you understand how these differences can affect charges, evidence, the prosecution’s burden of proof, and penalties for criminal convictions.
What Are the Different Types of Homicide?
As you can see by Washington’s statutory definition of homicide, there are five types: murder; homicide by abuse; manslaughter; excusable homicide; and, justifiable homicide.
Murder may or may not be done with premeditation, but it is committed with intent. Murder in the second degree involves the taking of a life with intent but not premeditation, such as killing someone in the proverbial “heat of the moment.” Second-degree murder also includes taking a life while committing another violent act such as assault.
Murder in the first degree would include the planned and premeditated taking of another human life. This would also be the charge if you acted with extreme indifference for life. For example, if you set off explosives in a public space and someone was killed, or if you intentionally drove your vehicle down a sidewalk or into a crowd of people and someone was killed, you would be charged with first-degree murder.
Murder in the first degree also includes deaths that occur in the commission of other felony offenses, including rape, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, and arson. A death that occurs during the offense or during an attempt to flee is subject to a first-degree murder charge.
Homicide by abuse focuses on the vulnerability of the victim. If you exhibit an extreme disregard for the life of a child, someone who is developmentally disabled, or a dependent adult by assaulting or torturing them and they die, you can be charged with homicide by abuse.
Manslaughter may be voluntary, involuntary, or vehicular. Manslaughter in the first degree involves reckless acts that result in someone’s death or killing an unborn child by inflicting harm on the mother. Manslaughter in the second degree involves causing the death of someone as the result of criminal negligence. Criminal negligence is a disregard for the safety of others or ignoring an obvious or known risk to the safety of others.
Vehicular manslaughter can be the result of causing a death while operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, recklessness, or with a disregard for others’ safety. This charge can be brought up to three years after the incident if the death does not occur right away. The vehicular incident must be the proximate cause of death.
Excusable Homicide/Accidental Death
Excusable homicide includes accidental death or “death by misfortune.” There was neither an intent to harm nor criminal negligence.
Justifiable homicide is when you take a life in self-defense of your life or someone else’s.
What Are the Possible Penalties for Homicide?
With the exception of manslaughter in the second degree, which is a Class B felony, all other homicide charges are Class A felonies, punishable by up to life in prison.
Of course, the circumstances surrounding the death will impact the severity of the penalty. Moreover, although you would face criminal charges if, for example, you are driving the getaway car for someone you didn’t know was armed and who killed someone during the commission of the robbery, you should not face a homicide charge.
What Possible Defenses Can I Use?
Now that you know what characterizes each type of homicide, you can understand what defenses your criminal defense attorney may raise. Moreover, you understand the burden of proof the prosecution must meet to obtain a conviction.
Depending on the charge, intent, premeditation, culpability for the actions of someone else, and a reckless disregard for life are matters the prosecution must prove. This means they are matters your attorney can challenge.
Homicide Defense Attorney in Kennewick, Washington
Attorney Nicholas George considers his clients to be his partners in their defense. It has been his experience that doing so creates formidable protections for his clients charged with crimes. If you are facing homicide charges in Kennewick, Washington, or in the surrounding areas, partner up with Nicholas George Law Firm PLLC. Call now.