Charges of violent crimes like murder or manslaughter should be approached with the utmost care and attention because they have the potential to permanently alter your life and place a burden on your loved ones. There are few criminal cases as serious as those based on allegations of homicide. If you have been charged with this crime, you need to reach out to a Detroit homicide defense lawyer who is experienced in fighting for the rights of defendants in these challenging situations. I am Jonathan Jones, an attorney with over 20 years of experience advocating for defendants in cases involving murder and manslaughter, as well as assault and other violent crimes. My practice is 100% dedicated to criminal defense, and each of my clients can reach me 24/7 by phone or text when a concern arises.Types of Homicide Charges in Michigan
The term homicide is an umbrella term that covers all situations in which one person takes the life of another person. Under Michigan law, you could be charged with first- or second-degree murder, depending on the circumstances. The law defines first-degree murder as a premeditated or pre-planned intentional killing, killing a police officer or another public official, or hiring a person to kill someone for you. First-degree murder can also include killing a person while committing another crime, such as arson, child abuse, criminal sexual conduct, drug crimes, robbery, larceny, and other crimes. Anyone convicted of first-degree murder in Michigan will be punished by life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Second-degree murder includes all other kinds of murder. Typically, second-degree murder occurs when the death of a person is caused by reckless or irrational behavior. These cases are different from first-degree murder cases in that the person's death was not planned or intended. For example, a second-degree murder charge may be appropriate when someone dies in a bar fight that got out of hand. An individual convicted of second-degree murder will face a penalty of life imprisonment or a prison term of varying lengths with the possibility of parole. A homicide defense attorney can assist Detroit residents with trying to get this charge dropped or reduced, or advocate for a lesser sentence.
Voluntary manslaughter is another type of homicide charge that involves an intentional killing that is done in the heat of passion. Put another way, this crime takes place when one person kills another person as a result of a sudden, violent, irresistible passion caused by a serious provocation. An example would be when a battered spouse is acting in self-defense but overreacts and kills the other spouse. Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, is an unintentional killing. This usually applies to vehicular accidents that lead to someone's death. Both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter are punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Simply because you have been charged with murder does not mean that you are guilty. In every criminal case, the burden of proof is on the state to establish every element of the crime "beyond a reasonable doubt." This standard requires the government to provide evidence that leaves the judge or jury convinced that the defendant is guilty, and a Detroit homicide defense attorney often can devise a strategy to raise a reasonable doubt. The "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard is the highest evidentiary standard in the legal system and is designed to be high because a person's liberty is at stake in criminal cases.
In addition, there may be certain affirmative defenses that may be applicable in your situation. For instance, the murder may have been justified if you were acting in self-defense because you were facing an imminent threat of death or serious harm, such as in a domestic violence situation. I can examine the sequence of events in your case and determine the most appropriate strategy for your defense.Contact a Knowledgeable Homicide Defense Lawyer in Detroit or Surrounding Areas
Being charged with any crime can be a frightening experience, but being charged with a serious crime like murder is even more unnerving. If you have been charged with homicide, you need a skilled Michigan attorney on your side. Time is of the essence in these cases, and it is essential to act as quickly as possible after you have been charged. We represent people throughout Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne Counties. To discuss your case in more detail, do not hesitate to call or text us at 248-310-3399 or contact us online.