Homicide is a criminal offense that carries the potential for the most severe consequences available under the law. A murder conviction can result in life imprisonment or, in severe circumstances, the death penalty. With so much on the line, it is important to speak with a relentless Omaha murder lawyer.
A proactive criminal defense attorney from Berry Law could investigate the matter further to develop an effective defense strategy on your behalf. Our defense lawyers have significant trial experience, and they could provide you the legal representation you need to fight your charges.
First-Degree Murder in Omaha
According to Nebraska Revised Statutes §28-302, homicide refers to the killing of someone who was alive at the time of the criminal act. Under Nebraska law, there are two separate degrees of murder.
First-degree murder can be characterized as purposely killing someone with premeditated malice while committing or attempting to commit first-degree sexual assault, arson, robbery, kidnapping, hijacking, or burglary. First-degree murder is either a Class I or Class IA felony under Nebraska law. The level of the felony charge depends on the existence of aggravating and mitigating factors.
A conviction for a Class I felony under Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-105 could result in a death sentence. For a Class IA felony conviction, the penalty may be life in prison. Due to the severity of these repercussions, getting representation from a dedicated murder lawyer in Omaha may be essential to building a strong defense.
Under Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-304, second-degree murder occurs when someone intentionally causes the death of another, but without premeditation. Premeditation refers to deciding or planning to do something before it happens. Therefore, a second-degree murder case typically would include evidence that a person intentionally killed someone, but they did so without any planning in advance.
Second-degree murder is a Class IB felony, and a conviction can result in a minimum of 20 years to a maximum of life in prison. Because of the severity of these penalties, it is critical to work with a proven Omaha murder lawyer when facing these charges.
Other Homicide Charges
Nebraska law includes other homicide offenses that still have the potential to result in harsh penalties but are less severe than those for first- and second-degree murder. For example, Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-305 defines manslaughter as killing others without malice due to a sudden altercation or unintentionally causing the death of others while committing an illegal act.
Additionally, Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-306 defines motor vehicle homicide as accidentally inflicting fatal injuries on someone while in control of a vehicle. Depending on the chain of events leading up to the offense, a person charged with motor vehicle homicide could be charged with a Class I misdemeanor or a Class II felony.
The Role of Intent in Omaha Murder Cases
As with all criminal cases, anyone charged with murder in Omaha is innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty. The crux of the prosecution’s case is their ability to prove that the defendant acted with intent.
In the case of a first-degree murder charge, the prosecution must prove intentional premeditation. For second-degree murder, the prosecution must prove that the accused acted with intent, but forethought is not necessary for a conviction. An Omaha lawyer at Berry Law can identify and exploit any flawed arguments from the prosecution to bolster your defense.
Defending a Murder Charge in Omaha with an Attorney’s Help
One of our skilled attorneys can investigate all aspects of your murder charge to build the strongest defense possible on your behalf. Depending on the details of the situation, self-defense may be a plausible defense strategy. Sometimes, a murder charge can arise from a case of misidentification.
Lack of mental capacity may also be a viable defense if it can be shown that the accused party was unable to comprehend the gravity or morality of the alleged offense.
Pointing Out the Absence of a Corpse
If law enforcement did not find a corpse, a seasoned lawyer may argue that the prosecution lacks adequate evidence. While this can bolster your defense, you should note that it is possible to get convicted even if the body is never found.
Is it Possible to Drop or Reduce Murder Charges?
Only the prosecutor on your case can drop the charges against you. The prosecution might do this if they no longer believe you committed the alleged murder. Alternatively, if your attorney successfully argues that you did not act with intention, the prosecutor may reduce the murder charge to manslaughter.
Contact an Omaha Murder Attorney Today
The consequences of a murder conviction are so severe that they are likely to alter the course of your life and reshape your future. Fight back against these charges by enlisting the help of a skilled Omaha murder lawyer today. To learn more, reach out to Berry Law for a confidential consultation.