Charged With Homicide? 3 Things To Look For In A Criminal Defense Attorney


Being accused of a crime you didn't commit is a nightmare that no one wants to ever face. When the charges are taking the life of another, however, if you live in a state that has capital punishment, the stakes can be a matter of life or death — your own.

According to the Innocence Project and a study sponsored by National Academy of Sciences, at least 4.1 percent of defendants sitting on death row are innocent.

While not every charge will necessarily result in the death penalty, even life imprisonment is no consolation when you are innocent. This means choosing the right criminal defense attorney could be the most important decision of your life. Here are three things to look for.

What Field Of Law Do They Specialize In?

If you have been charged with killing someone, you need an attorney who specifically handles these types of cases. Do not choose an attorney who primarily handles lesser crimes. All homicides are not equal, and you want someone who has successfully defended these charges previously.

You may be charged with:

  • First-degree murder — This is pre-meditated murder or homicide that occurs during the commission of another felony, such as robbery, arson, kidnapping, sexual assault, or child abuse. Killing a law enforcement officer is also typically charged as first-degree murder.
  • Second-degree murder — This is a homicide that was not pre-meditated and did not occur during the commission of another felony. This charge is less serious than first-degree murder, but it is still extremely grave. Second-degree murder is kind of a catch-all for homicides that don't qualify for other charges.
  • Voluntary manslaughter — Voluntary manslaughter is an intentional homicide committed when under extreme emotional distress. For example, a man who walks in to find his wife in bed with another man and then shoots them may be charged with voluntary manslaughter.
  • Involuntary manslaughter — Involuntary manslaughter is similar to voluntary manslaughter, but it is not intentional. It may be accidental in nature. If the man who finds his wife in bed with another man punches her lover and he falls, hits his head, and dies, this may be charged as involuntary manslaughter, as his intent wasn't to kill the man.
  • Negligent homicide — A charge of negligent homicide is usually reserved for car accidents that result in death due to someone's carelessness. For example, texting while driving could result in this charge.

What Is Their Success Rate?

When you are looking for a criminal defense attorney, you will want to ask how many defendants they have successfully defended and how many have been convicted. A criminal defense attorney isn't a magician. They can't control the evidence or a jury's decision. But, you still want to choose an attorney who has a good record.

How Much Do They Charge?

A good criminal defense attorney is going to cost good money, and you will need to plan for paying for your defense. However, when your life depends on being found not guilty, no amount of money is too much.

For more information, contact a law office that offers criminal defense attorney services.


3 May 2019

kids being charge with crimes they didn't commit

My son and a group of his friends got in some trouble for trespassing and were arrested. Every one of the boys that were there were charged with trespassing, criminal mischief and vandalism. I contacted all of the other boys' parents and we got together to discuss the situation. After hearing the boys' stories about what happened that day, we knew that we had to hire an attorney to get the boys out of some of the trouble they were in. I have been working on my blog to help other parents that are struggling with the legal system prosecuting their kids for things that they may not have done.