Homicide is the unlawful act of taking someone’s life, otherwise known as murder. It is punishable by death or life imprisonment, and the sentence varies according to the state.
This essentially means that homicide can be lawfully excusable under certain circumstances like when state-sanctioned in war or self-defense. For a lawful conviction of murder in the first degree, the prosecution has to prove beyond any reasonable doubt:
- That the accused had motive (malice aforethought) to commit the murder.
- That the accused was at the crime scene or conspired with those who were.
In order to secure a conviction, the prosecution is duty bound to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused willfully took another person’s life. If an accused person killed another person to protect their own life, another’s life, or property, then an offense of murder would be difficult to prove.
The various degrees of murder
Murder is not a uniform offense. Therefore, the decision to charge an accused would be based on the facts and evidence presented. The following is the breakdown of murder charges.
First degree murder
Premeditation is a critical prerequisite in this classification where the defendant is charged with being party to crimes considered dangerous and whose engagement results in death. When accused of murder in the first, it is essential to secure reliable legal representation that can help you make your case to freedom by demonstrating to the jury the presence of sufficient reasonable doubt to ensure a not guilty verdict.
Second and third degree murder
Unlike in the first classification, murder in the second and third degree doesn’t require one to have premeditation. In the absence of malice aforethought, the offense is known as manslaughter.
Innocent until proven guilty is the gold standard that all persons charged with a crime are afforded by law. As the consequence of being convicted of murder can be dire, it is essential to robustly challenge the charges leveled against you.
The best outcome is in the ability to amplify the facts of your innocence or create sufficient doubt for the jury to rule in your favor. It is vital to make your voice heard in court. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Do you have an alibi? If so, does it check out? Was the act in self-defense? As stated earlier, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the charges. You have the benefit of the doubt and are presumed innocent until then.
Unlike commonly thought, homicide is not a single offense. It can be broken down into several tiers. Further, when charged with murder, you can defend yourself successfully depending on the facts and the law.