We all make mistakes. Some are easily forgiven and forgotten while others are not. Killing someone, intentionally or not, is a good example of making a mistake that even the government cannot simply overlook.
Homicide is the legal word for killing someone. Most people often use murder and homicide interchangeably but they are slightly different. While both refer to the killing of someone, homicide is more of a general term while murder is more specific – there was malicious intent to kill. As a result, not every homicide is a murder but every murder is a homicide. If you have been charged with homicide, consider retaining counsel from the experienced Spokane defense attorneys at Twyford Law Office.
There are several types of homicide outlined under the laws of the state of Washington, including:
Homicide by abuse
Although each type of homicide outlined above is a very serious crime, they all carry different penalties ranging from a few months in prison to life imprisonment or even capital punishment – and that is not to mention several thousands of dollars in fines that you will be expected to pay. That is why having a top-rated Spokane criminal defense attorney representing you is the best first step you can take when faced with homicide charges.
Reach out to Twyford Law Office at (509) 327-0777 today.
This is the most serious crime anyone can be charged with under Washington law. Murder is defined as the unlawful and intentional killing of another human being with malicious intent.
The main categories that murder can be broken up into are:
First-degree murder: This is defined as the intentional and premeditated killing of another person (RCW 9A.32.030). However, premeditation is not the only way this offense can be established. The prosecution might establish other factors such as extreme indifference or negligence on the defendant’s part that resulted in the death, or that the death occurred while the defendant was committing a crime such as a robbery, rape, burglary, kidnapping, or arson.
Aggravated first-degree murder: This is undoubtedly the most serious of all homicide crimes and it occurs when someone commits a first-degree murder under exacerbating circumstances. These circumstances include killing a police officer, firefighter, or any other official who was performing their duties at the time of the crime; a journalist investigating the case; a judge, juror, former juror, attorney, witness, probation, or parole officer; or someone who had a restraining order against the defendant.
Second-degree murder: Also defined as intentionally and unlawfully killing someone else, but without any form of premeditation. Second-degree murder could also be applicable when someone commits a felony and a death occurs during the act. This is also referred to as felony murder.
Unlike murder, manslaughter is defined as killing someone without malicious intent. It can be classified into two categories: First-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter.
The state of Washington will find you guilty of first-degree manslaughter if you kill someone due to recklessness or you kill an unborn child by intentionally inflicting harm on the mother. Adequate provocation, such as jealous rage, could also be established as a factor for first-degree manslaughter.
Manslaughter in the second degree is defined as a death caused by criminal negligence. That is, if care and attention were properly exercised, the death could have been avoided, thus making the defendant criminally liable for the death, although to a lesser extent compared to premeditated murder.
Homicide by Abuse
Homicide by abuse occurs when a minor under the age of sixteen, a developmentally disabled person, or a dependent adult dies as a result of physical abuse. The accused must also have exhibited unemotional apathy and have a history of assault or torture towards the victim.
This simply refers to death caused by a motor vehicle.
The driver could be convicted of vehicular homicide if he or she caused the death as a result of:
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
Driving without regard to the safety of others.
Penalties for Homicide in Washington
So what happens if you are found guilty of homicide? The Revised Code of Washington lays out the exact punishment for each type of homicide. Depending on the type of homicide you are convicted of, you could be facing any combination of prison time and fines. Every type of homicide is a felony.
Statute of Limitations on Homicides in Washington
A statute of limitations is a law created to prohibit prosecutors from charging someone with a crime that occurred several years ago. The statute of limitations exists for one reason only: To protect defendants.
This is because evidence and witnesses lose significance over time and to avoid any bias, statutes of limitations are put in place to make sure the law does not send the wrong person to jail.
However, when it comes to homicide cases, there are no statutes of limitations prohibiting prosecutors from filing a lawsuit whenever they want.
Work With Twyford Law Office
A homicide charge is one of the most severe criminal charges you could ever face. Now that you know what to expect from a conviction, the next step would be for you to start working on your defense.
The sooner you start working on your case, the better. If you find yourself facing these charges, retain counsel from our Spokane homicide attorneys. We know all there is to know about Washington laws and have the experience needed to either get you acquitted or to get your charges dismissed or reduced.
If you need help with your case, schedule a free, no-strings-attached consultation. Call us at (509) 327-0777 or contact us online.