Loudoun County Homicide Attorney
When one hears the term “homicide,” the worst possible scenarios tend to come to mind. Cases of homicide can vary greatly, however, from instances of self-defense to fatal injuries resulting from an accident to aggression gone a little too far all the way to premeditated murder. Because each case is different, the charges and penalties associated with homicide vary, as well, on a case by case basis. If you have been charged with homicide, you need the help of a skilled Loudoun homicide lawyer.
With years of experience in homicide cases comes an ability to evaluate the details of each individual case and to sift through the evidence obtained by the prosecution. This experience also enables your defense attorney to thoroughly examine the methods by which evidence is obtained and trace the steps of the arrest to ensure that the defendant’s rights have not been violated throughout the legal ordeal. You need legal prowess on your side to fight the prosecution’s pursuit of the maximum penalties for your alleged crime. We also handle other criminal matters in Loudoun County, click here for more information.
Loudoun County Homicide Lawyers Handle These Cases
Homicide is defined as the killing of one human being by another. The circumstances surrounding the killing that takes place have a great impact on the penalties one will incur. The law classifies various forms of homicide or murder and ascribes to each what is deemed to be the appropriate punishment for such a crime.
The taking of another’s life may be intentional or out of negligence. It may be premeditated or accidental. It may be malicious or justified. Whatever the case, various forms of homicide are addressed in Chapter 4 of the Code of Virginia. Classified as a “Crime Against the Person,” homicide leads off this section of the code in great detail:
- Section 18.2-30 Murder and manslaughter declared felonies
- Section 18.2-31 Capital murder defined; punishment
- Section 18.2-32 First and second degree murder defined; punishment
- Section 18.2-33 Felony homicide defined; punishment
- Section 18.2-35 How voluntary manslaughter punished
- Section 18.2-36 How involuntary manslaughter punished
- Section 18.2-37 How and where homicide prosecuted and punished if death occur without the Commonwealth
- Section 18.2-38 “Mob” defined
- Section 18.2-39 “Lynching” defined
- Section 18.2-40 Lynching deemed murder
Section 18.2-30 Murder and Manslaughter Declared Felonies
In this section of the code, it is clearly stated that any person found guilty of murder, whether considered capital murder, murder of the first or second degree, or manslaughter, whether voluntary or involuntary, is guilty of a felony. In the sections to follow, the classification of the felonies, ranging from Class 6 being the least severe to Class 1 being the most heinous, are broken down based on the severity of the crime, and the associated penalties are laid out based on the felony classification. For a better understanding, consult with a Loudoun County homicide lawyer today.
Section 18.2-31 Capital Murder and Penalties
Capital murder is defined as the “willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of any person.” Because of the planning and forethought associated with this type of homicide, it is considered the most serious of homicide offenses. Punishable as a Class 1 felony, a conviction for capital murder carries with it a maximum fine of $100,000 and life imprisonment or the death penalty. If the offender is under the age of 18 or proven to be mentally retarded, then he or she is ineligible for the death penalty and would thereby be subject only to the $100,000 maximum fine and life in prison.
In this section of the code, capital murder is discussed in detail. Various scenarios are described in which murder becomes classified as “capital murder.” Such circumstances, which warrant the contact of a Loudoun County homicide lawyer, include:
- Murder in the commission of abduction with the intent to extort money
- The hire of a “contract killer” to murder another person
- Murder by a prisoner of a state or local correctional facility
- Murder in the commission of armed robbery
- Murder in the commission of rape or attempted rape
- Murder of a law-enforcement officer
- Murder of a fire marshal or deputy fire marshal
- Murder of more than one person as part of the same criminal offense
- Murder of more than one person within three years
- Knowingly murdering a pregnant woman to terminate her pregnancy
- Murder of a person under the age of 14 by a person over the age of 21
Section 18.2-32 First and Second Degree Murder and Penalties
In the Code, first-degree murder is defined as any murder, other than capital murder, by means of poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, or starvation. It also includes the “willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing” or killing in the commission of or attempt to commit arson, rape or forcible sodomy, robbery or burglary, or abduction.
Murder which is classified as murder of the first degree is a Class 2 felony, punishable by 20 years to life in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.
All murder not classified as either capital murder or first-degree murder is considered to be murder of the second degree. Second-degree murder, also defined in Section 18.2-33 as felony murder, is punishable by five to 40 years in a state correctional facility.
Advantages of a Loudoun Homicide Lawyer
All homicide-related charges are very serious and can have a profound impact on your life. Law enforcement officers take these allegations very seriously. The government prosecutes these charges vigorously. You should have a Loudoun County homicide lawyer who is dedicated to building a strong defense for his client. Call our office today to speak with an attorney and discuss your options.