What Are Effective Defenses For Homicide Cases?

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The loss of human life can be tragic and untimely. A person who contributes to the death of another may be convicted of homicide. Penalties for homicide cases are some of the most intense out of any crime. If you are being charged with homicide you will want to acquire the services of a lawyer and discuss what defenses you may use to reduce your charges. An experienced Bergen County, New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can offer skilled legal representation and advice.

What is Homicide?

Homicide is the killing of a person by another. It is one of the most serious crimes that can occur as it involves the tragic loss of human life. There are generally three types of criminal homicide recognized by New Jersey state law: reckless manslaughter, aggravated manslaughter, and murder.

When a person commits reckless manslaughter they are committing a second-degree indictable crime. Their negligence or reckless behavior resulted in the death of another person. Also a second-degree offense, heat of passion manslaughter is recognized by the state of NJ as well. It is comparable to voluntary manslaughter where the defendant killed the other person purposefully but it was not planned and they were provoked into a disturbed emotional state and did not have the chance to calm down before the killing took place.

Aggravated manslaughter is a first-degree indictable offense and someone can be convicted if they caused someone else’s death through reckless disregard of human life or during an attempt to evade a law enforcement officer.

Arguably one of the worst crimes a person can commit, murder is a first or second-degree crime in New Jersey. It involves the unlawful and intentional killing of another person. Murder is not legally justified and is committed with malicious aforethought. A person may also be charged with murder if they inflicted bodily harm on the victim which resulted in their death or behaved in a way that disregarded human life to an extreme, causing the victim’s death.

What Are the Penalties for Homicide?

Homicide, being one of the most serious crimes one can commit, comes with some of the harshest penalties for any crime. Homicide convictions will result in severe fines, lengthy prison sentences, probation, mandatory community service, etc. The following are considered standard New Jersey penalties for homicide.

  • Reckless manslaughter
    • Imprisonment of 5 to 10 years
    • Fines up to $150,000
  • Aggravated manslaughter
    • Imprisonment of 10 to 30 years
    • Fines up to $200,000
  • Second-degree murder
    • Imprisonment of any term of years or life (typically around 15 years to life)
  • First-degree murder
    • Imprisonment of 30 years to life
    • If murder was committed against a police officer on duty or a minor under the age of 14, life in prison without parole

What Are the Most Effective Defenses for a Homicide Case?

To find the most effective defense for your particular case, you will want to discuss the details of your situation with your attorney as there is not a one size fits all solution. With that being said, the following are some defenses you may choose to employ during your homicide case.

  • Mistaken identity
  • Self-defense
  • Prosecution is overcharging the crime
  • Intoxication
  • Insanity
  • Insufficient evidence
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