More Than 75 Years of Combined Criminal Defense Experience
Murder is among the most serious of criminal charges, and the risks of a long-term prison sentence and even capital punishment are real. For this reason, many criminal defense law firms are consequently reluctant to handle homicide cases and have handled just a few cases, or none.
We combined unmatched experience with diligence, legal knowledge, and a commitment to each client’s best result. To schedule a consultation with one of our St. Louis homicide defense lawyers, call our office today at (314) 354-8484 or contact us online.
Missouri Homicide Offenses
Under Missouri law, if you kill another person, you could be charged with a number of crimes, including first-degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter. Read on for more information about each offense:
- First-Degree Murder – first-degree murder occurs when a person kills another person knowingly and after deliberation about the matter.
- Second-Degree Murder – second-degree murder occurs when a person knowingly kills another person or does so while intending to cause serious bodily injury to another person. In addition, if a person kills another person during the commission of or flight from the commission of a felony, they are guilty of second-degree murder.
- Voluntary Manslaughter – This offense involves killing another person in a situation that would ordinarily be considered second-degree murder but occurred during a bout of sudden passion arising from a cause deemed adequate. Helping another person with self-murder is also considered voluntary manslaughter.
- Involuntary Manslaughter – Under Missouri law, a person commits the offense of involuntary manslaughter if his or her criminal negligence causes the death of another person.
Defenses in Homicide Cases
If you have been accused of murder or a lesser homicide charge, it is important to understand that there are a number of viable defenses available in homicide cases. One of the most commonly raised is self-defense, which involves showing that you reasonably believed that your use of physical force was necessary to protect you or another person from someone who was trying to harm or even kill you. Not surprisingly, many cases involving self-defense turn on the question of what was “reasonable” at the time of the incident, making the assistance of an attorney critical.
In some cases, the goal of the defense is not to obtain an acquittal or get the charges dropped, but rather to mitigate the consequences faced by the defendant. In these instances, it is often necessary to highlight facts that speak to the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the homicide or to introduce circumstantial evidence that speaks to a lack of deliberation.
It is important to remember that many homicide cases never even go to trial as they are resolved through negotiation between the prosecutor handling the case and the defense attorney. An attorney familiar with representing people accused of homicide will be able to analyze your case and determine whether any defenses exist, the strength of the prosecutor’s case, and the course of action that will most likely result in the best outcome in your case.
Contact Us Today to Speak with a Missouri Murder Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of murder or another offense related to homicide, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a case evaluation with one of our St. Louis criminal defense lawyers, call Rogers Sevastianos & Bante, LLP Today at (314) 354-8484 or contact us online.