Experienced Criminal Traverse City Criminal Defense Lawyers Aggressively Defending Clients Facing Violent Crimes

A homicide occurs when someone unlawfully kills another person. Needless to say, homicide charges—which include murder and manslaughter—are serious. There are various degrees of homicide, but the penalties for most of them are extremely harsh and include the possibility of life in prison without parole.

If you are charged with homicide, it is crucial to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Neumann Law Group, our Traverse City homicide lawyers can pursue a reduction to a lesser charge or take your case to trial if doing so is in your best interest.

Michigan Murder Crimes

The most serious homicide charge is first-degree murder. First-degree murder may be premeditated or felony murder. First degree murder charges require the prosecution to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant planned to murder the victim. The premeditation may be brief, and an elaborate scheme or a significant passage of time is not necessary.

Felony murder may be charged when a death occurs due to or during the commission of another felony, as specified by statute. For example, if someone is accidentally killed during a carjacking or kidnapping, felony murder may be charged. First-degree murder convictions carry mandatory life imprisonment sentences without the possibility of parole.

Second-degree murder is also a serious charge that carries the possibility of life imprisonment. However, life imprisonment is not mandatory. The prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s act caused a death, that they acted with malice, and that they had no justification or excuse. Proof of malice is established when the prosecution can show that a defendant either intended to kill or cause great bodily harm to the victim or intended to create a high risk of death or bodily injury, knowing that those were the probable results of their actions.

Michigan Manslaughter Crimes

Manslaughter is often described as a murder that occurs in the “heat of passion.” Necessarily, these offenses do not involve premeditation or malice; otherwise, the defendant would face murder charges. In some cases, a skilled Detroit homicide defense attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to get a first-degree or second-degree murder charge reduced to manslaughter.

If you are convicted or take a plea deal, manslaughter is punished with 15 years’ imprisonment. Involuntary manslaughter also carries a potential penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment. You may be charged with involuntary manslaughter if you were doing something unlawful that did not count as one of the specified felonies or that would not naturally tend to trigger a death or serious injuries. For example, it might be charged if a truck driver was driving negligently, caused a crash, and accidentally killed someone.

Defenses to Homicide Crimes

The prosecution has a high burden of proof in criminal cases, and creating a reasonable doubt by challenging the prosecution’s evidence may be a basis for a solid defense. In some cases, it may be possible to point to another suspect to get the charges reduced or obtain a not-guilty verdict. Sometimes, there are also errors in how the evidence was obtained or constitutional violations prevent certain evidence from being considered by the jury. In other situations, self- defense may be an appropriate strategy to challenge a charge; however, any use of self-defense must be proportionate to the threat otherwise it will not qualify as a valid defense.

Contact Our Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers in Traverse City to Get Started on Your Defense Today

Homicide charges are among the most serious criminal charges that you can face. If you have recently been arrested and charged with murder or manslaughter, it is essential to consult with an experienced Traverse City homicide defense attorney as soon as possible. The Neumann Law Group represents defendants in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as in communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent clients charged with assault crimes, domestic violence offenses and other serious crimes.

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