Homicide is one of the most serious crimes you can ever be accused of. It falls into three legal categories: first degree murder, second degree murder, and manslaughter.
If you’ve been charged with any form of homicide you need the strongest legal defence money can buy. The criminal defence lawyers at Merchant Law can help. We have a long, successful track record and have helped many homicide defendants successfully resolve their cases.
What is the difference between first degree murder and second degree murder?
First degree murders are either planned, or happen while committing other felonies. If you are accused of “laying in wait” to murder someone then you’ll be charged with first degree murder. You’ll also be charged with first degree murder if you commit a robbery and someone dies while you are committing that crime. A murder would be charged as first-degree murder if you were committing it on behalf of any criminal or terrorist organization, as well.
If you are convicted of first degree murder you will automatically be sentanced to life in prison.
Second degree murder is a deliberate killing that is unplanned. This might be the proverbial “crime of passion” where one person slays another in the middle of an argument.
The minimum sentence for second degree murder is 10 years, and the maximum is 25 years. Second degree murder is still a very serious, life-changing charge that needs a vigorous defence.
What is manslaughter?
Manslaughter is a form of homicide from activities that result in the death of another without intent to cause the death. The death could be the result of an unlawful act. For example, if you break the law by running a red light and then strike a pedestrian, the Crown could charge you with manslaughter.
You can also be charged with manslaughter if you engaged in criminal negligence that resulted in the death of another. A “reasonable person” would have to be able to predict that their actions could result in the death of another person.
Manslaughter is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Homicide law also recognizes infantacide as a crime, and makes special allowances for mothers who are suffering from mental health problems like severe postpartum depression. In these cases, the maximum sentence is 5 years in prison.
Why Merchant Law?
Our team has a proven track record of acquittals and case dismissals. Whenever it’s realistic and possible to do so, we can make a strong argument for putting an end to your case, sometimes before it even gets to court.
Ideally, we’ll be able to examine your case, identify holes in the Crown’s strategy, and get you acquitted. When there’s very little evidence we may even be able to get your case dismissed. When that can’t be done we may be able to get your charges reduced or your sentence mitigated.
Are you in trouble? We can help. Contact Merchant Law today to set up a free consultation. We’ll go over your case, answer your questions, and discuss next steps.