Being charged with a crime is many people’s biggest fears. The thought of going to jail can be terrifying, and even without jail time, the penalties of a criminal conviction can be serious, causing damage to your finances, career and reputation.
When the crime is a major felony, such as homicide, the potential ramifications can change your entire life. New York law defines homicide as intentionally causing the death of another person.
There are different types of homicide, including manslaughter and various degrees of murder. All homicide crimes are felonies, meaning that jail or prison time is a possibility.
You may believe that it is impossible to defend yourself against a homicide charge, but that is simply not true. There are several potential defenses available.
You must have intended to kill your victim
The prosecution must prove each element of a homicide charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Intent is one of the elements. Evidence showing beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to kill someone must be shown.
You may have intended to harm the victim, but not kill them, or you may have accidentally caused their death. These are both potential defenses that can be used successfully.
Were you defending yourself?
Self-defense is another defense that should be explored. If you reasonably believed you were going to be killed, and used reasonable force to defend yourself, you may have a case for self-defense.
The lack of a potential defense does not mean an automatic conviction. The prosecution still has the burden of proving each element of the crime through testimony and evidence and showing that they correctly followed procedure through each step of the case.
You do not have to prove anything
There are defense strategies that can be used to attack the credibility of both. Challenging evidence, questioning testimony and thoroughly examining the prosecution’s actions can potentially result in a dismissed charge.
A homicide charge can feel like your worst nightmare. Each case is different, which is why you should seek the advice of a seasoned criminal defense attorney who can examine the specific facts of your case.