The differences between first-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter are significant, yet there is something that these two and other homicide charges have in common: They require an objective and aggressive Seattle homicide defense lawyer.
The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 9A.32.010 defines homicide as the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or omission of another person, with the death occurring at any time. However, homicide is an umbrella term that covers a number of crimes. Under Washington law, a homicide may be murder, homicide by abuse, manslaughter, excusable homicide, or justifiable homicide. If you are being investigated for another person’s death or have been charged with a homicide offense, you need to speak with a Seattle homicide defense lawyer in Seattle right away.
The type of homicide offense you are accused of committing will depend on the specific circumstances of your case and will determine the level of the charge against you. The type of homicide also influences the potential punishments. Contact a Seattle homicide defense lawyer from Emerald City Law Group at 206-973-0407 to learn more about the charges against you, your rights, and your potential defenses.
Washington Homicide Law
Washington’s homicide charges include:
- RCW 9A.32.030 – First-Degree Murder: You may be found guilty of first-degree murder when, with premeditated intent, you cause of the death of another person; or under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life, you engage in conduct that creates a grave risk of death to others and causes the death of another individual; or you commit or attempt to commit certain felony crimes and during the commission of the crime or your immediate flight, you cause the death of a person that was not a participant in the offense.
- RCW 10.95.020 – Aggravated First-Degree Murder: You can be convicted of aggravated first-degree murder if, when you commit first-degree murder, an additional aggravating circumstance exists, such as if the victim was a law enforcement officer or the death occurred during the commission of a drive-by shooting. Washington law outlines 14 aggravating factors.
- RCW 9A.32.050 – Second-Degree Murder: You may be convicted of second-degree murder if, with the intent to cause the death of another yet without premeditation, you cause the death of that person or someone else; or during the commission or your attempt to commit a felony not described in RCW 9A.32.030, you cause the death of someone who was not a participant in the offense.
- RCW 9A.32.055 – Homicide by Abuse: You may be convicted of this offense if, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, you cause the death of a child or person under 16 years old, a person who is developmentally disabled, or a dependent adult, and you have previously engaged in a pattern or practice of assault or torture toward the victim.
- RCW 9A.32.060 – First-Degree Manslaughter: You may be found guilty of manslaughter in the first degree if you recklessly cause the death of another person or you intentionally and unlawfully kill an unborn child by inflicting injury upon the mother.
- RCW 9A.32.070 – Second-Degree Manslaughter: If you cause the death of another person due to criminally negligent actions, you may be found guilty of second-degree manslaughter.
Potential Penalties for a Murder Conviction
If you are charged with first-degree murder, this is a Class A felony, punishable by life in prison. If an aggravating factor exists, then prosecutors may seek the death penalty. Second-degree murder, homicide by abuse, and first-degree manslaughter are also charged as Class A felonies and are punishable by up to life in prison and a fine up to $50,000.
When you are facing a Class A felony for the death of another person, the best step you can take is to contact a Seattle homicide defense lawyer. When the maximum punishment available is life in prison without parole, you need an attorney who will aggressively fight for your exoneration while also striving to minimize the consequences of a conviction. At Emerald City Law Group, we will fight hard for you to receive a penalty far less than the maximum allowed if you are convicted of a homicide offense.
Second-degree manslaughter is charged as a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fine up to $20,000. While the maximum penalty is far less than life in prison, you will still want to avoid losing a decade of your life behind bars.
Defending Against Murder Accusations
Certain types of murder are actual defenses to a crime and not a specific type of offense that results in a conviction and criminal punishments. These are:
- RCW 9A.16.040 – Excusable Homicide: Homicide is excusable if, by accident or misfortune, you cause the death or another while doing a lawful act by lawful means and without a criminal, negligent, or unlawful intent.
- RCW 9A.16.050 – Justifiable Homicide by Officers: Homicide or the use of deadly force may be justifiable if you are a public or peace officer acting under a court order, doing what is necessary to overcome actual resistance to the execution of a court order or the legal process, or doing what is necessary to apprehend a person you reasonably believe committed or attempted to commit a crime.
- RCW 9A.16.050 – Justifiable Homicide by Other Persons: Homicide may also be justifiable when you had reasonable grounds to believe your spouse, parent, child, sibling, or another person in your company had a plan to commit a felony or greatly injury you and you were in imminent danger of that plan being carried out, or if the death was caused during your actual resistance to an attempt to commit a felony upon you or in your home.
Talk to a Seattle Homicide Defense Lawyer Today
For legal representation, call one of our Seattle criminal defense attorneys or personal injury lawyers located in downtown Seattle at 206-973-0407. A Seattle homicide defense lawyer from Emerald City Law Group can discuss your specific case in a free initial consultation.
A Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
No matter the charges or accusations – You deserve an aggressive defense.
When people are ill-prepared for the criminal justice system or take their situation too lightly, the consequences are often dire and in most cases, permanent. By working with a King County criminal defense lawyer from Emerald City Law Group, you can rely on a personalized and proactive approach to your case, so every issue is addressed and you obtain the best possible outcome.
If you have been charged with a crime in or around King County, Washington, Emerald City Law Group should be your next call. 206-973-0407