Few criminal offenses carry the same weight as homicide. If you are facing homicide charges, it is vital to act fast, as a conviction can lead to lengthy prison sentences and completely change your life. Any delay in retaining legal representation could put your future at risk.
By connecting with a Bellevue homicide lawyer as soon as possible, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome. Let an attorney at Berry Law review your case and develop a defense strategy to fight your charges.
How Does State Law Define Homicide?
Nebraska Revised Statute §28-302 broadly defines homicide as the killing of one person by another. The specific factors surrounding an alleged homicide will determine what criminal charges you will face – as well as whether criminal charges are appropriate at all. A local attorney can advise you on what specific homicide charges you’re facing based on the facts of your case.
Types of Homicide Offenses
State law characterizes four types of crimes as homicide, including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, and motor vehicle homicide. While these are typically charged as felonies, it is possible to face misdemeanor homicide charges in some cases.
First-degree murder is the most serious homicide offense in Bellevue. Depending on the circumstances of your case, first-degree murder can be charged as either a Class I or a Class IA felony. A Class I felony is punishable by the death penalty, while a Class IA felony is punishable by life imprisonment. A person can also be charged with this type of homicide for killing someone during the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a sexual assault, arson, robbery, kidnapping, burglary, or hijacking.
To secure a conviction for this type of homicide, prosecutors must demonstrate that the defendant killed another person purposely and with deliberate, premeditated malice. This is known in some jurisdictions as premeditated murder. A person can also be charged with first-degree murder if they killed someone by administering poison or causing another person to administer it.
While the penalties for a second-degree murder conviction are not as steep as those associated with murder in the first degree, they still carry life-altering consequences. According to Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-304, second-degree murder is a Class IB felony and entails an intentional killing but without premeditation. If you are convicted of second-degree murder, you will be sentenced anywhere from 20 years to life in prison.
Manslaughter is characterized by killing without intent and is classified as a Class IIA felony by Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-305. To prove that manslaughter occurred, a prosecutor must show the defendant killed without malice during a sudden quarrel or caused the death of another person unintentionally during the commission of an illegal act. Manslaughter is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Motor Vehicle Homicide
Motor vehicle homicide is the only type of homicide that can be charged as a misdemeanor. According to Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-306, motor vehicle homicide occurs when one person unintentionally causes the death of another while operating a motor vehicle. However, motor vehicle homicide is typically a Class IIIA felony, which is punishable by 3 years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000.
Reach out to a Bellevue Homicide Attorney Right Away
A conviction for homicide can alter your life forever. Because the consequences for homicide are so severe, you should contact an experienced defense lawyer as soon as you believe you are under investigation.
A Bellevue homicide lawyer can help ensure your rights are protected at this critical point in your life. Call Berry Law right away to schedule a confidential consultation.