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Can A Criminal Lawyer Help Me If The Murder Lacked Intent?

If you committed homicide but did not intend to do so, the highest conviction you can receive is that of second-degree murder. You may be able to go down to manslaughter, but you will need the assistance of a qualified homicide lawyer to represent you in court. There are several distinctions between the different types of murder and manslaughter, and if you want to receive the most favorable sentence, you will need to prove that you fall into one of the lesser legal categories.

Different Legal Definitions For Homicide Without Intent

There are three major legal classifications for homicide without intent. Your lawyer's job will be to prove that you fit the lowest classification possible given the circumstances and evidence surrounding your charge. The three classifications follow:

  • Second-degree murder is defined as intending to kill someone but not planning it beforehand. It carries a lower sentence than that of first-degree murder, in which you planned to commit the crime.
  • Voluntary manslaughter is defined as not intending to kill someone but intending to cause harm. You may have intended to commit a violent crime like assault or armed robbery, in which case you will still receive jail time, but it will be less serious than a murder charge.
  • Involuntary manslaughter is defined as not intending to kill someone or harm them. There are distinctions in an involuntary manslaughter charge that involve whether or not you were already breaking a law. If your theft or traffic violation led to the homicide, you will be more likely to receive jail time than if your negligence led to someone else's death.

Use Legal Language

Many people don't use language the same way that lawyers use it in a court of law. For instance, many believe that "murder" means that their actions led to someone else's death. However, its legal definition is far more narrow. It could be the case that an act that you think of as "murder" only qualifies as "manslaughter" in the eyes of a judge. A criminal lawyer will represent you in court using legal language to help you get the lowest sentence possible.