Martinsburg Homicide & Murder Defense Attorneys
Serving Clients Throughout West Virginia, Berkeley County & Beyond
West Virginia aggressively prosecutes individuals accused of violent crimes, such as homicide. These are crimes generally considered to be the most heinous of all offenses. They can carry some of the most severe and life-changing criminal and civil consequences. Conviction of homicide or murder can include up to a lifetime in prison along with a permanent criminal record if you are released which can diminish any chance of a normal future.
Thus, if you have been accused of murder or homicide, your choice of a criminal defense lawyer is of the utmost importance. It also should be made as quickly as possible so your defense efforts can begin in earnest.
At The Criminal Law Center, we have more than 30 years of experience representing people accused of serious and violent crimes, such as murder and homicide. If you have been charged with or are being investigated for someone’s death, do not hesitate to contact us. Our trial attorneys understand the sensitive situation you are in and will work one-on-one with you in seeking the best possible outcome.
Reach out to The Criminal Law Center for a free case review with a Martinsburg homicide and murder defense lawyer at (304) 244-0633.
Homicide & Murder in West Virginia
Homicide in West Virginia refers to the act of unlawfully killing another person. It is divided into several categories, including murder and manslaughter. The difference between homicide and murder lies in the intent and circumstances surrounding the killing.
Murder in West Virginia is classified into two degrees under §61-2-1 of the West Virginia Code:
- First-degree murder: This involves a premeditated, deliberate, and malicious killing. Examples include killings committed during the course of a robbery, kidnapping, arson, or sexual assault.
- Second-degree murder: This involves a killing that was not premeditated but was still committed with malice. This can include killings that occur during an act of violence or as a result of reckless behavior.
Manslaughter in West Virginia is classified into two types:
- Voluntary manslaughter: Defined under §61-2-4 of the West Virginia Code, this involves an intentional killing that occurs in the heat of passion or under extreme emotional distress. An example would be a person who kills someone in a fit of rage after discovering their spouse's infidelity.
- Involuntary manslaughter: This involves an unintentional killing that results from criminal negligence or reckless behavior, such as accidentally causing a fatal car accident while driving under the influence.
Penalties for Homicide & Murder
In West Virginia, penalties for these crimes can range from prison sentences to fines, depending on the severity of the offense:
- First-degree murder: Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 15 years.
- Second-degree murder: A prison sentence of 10-40 years.
- Voluntary manslaughter: A prison sentence of three to 15 years.
- Involuntary manslaughter: A prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
What Are the Potential Legal Defenses in Homicide or Murder Cases?
Several defenses may be used in challenging homicide and murder charges, such as self-defense which involved protecting oneself or others from imminent harm, claims of legal insanity at the time of the crime which means that the defendant cannot be held responsible for the act, claims that the incident was an accident and not because of criminal negligence or reckless behavior, or the defense counsel providing evidence that the defendant was not present at the scene of the crime, proving innocence.
How Our Martinsburg Homicide & Murder Defense Attorneys Can Help
In such serious charges as homicide or murder, you need an experienced trial lawyer who knows how to build cases and present strong arguments in court on your behalf.
Our team will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your charges to uncover exculpatory evidence. This is evidence that is favorable to you and that tends to exonerate you from guilt. Upon our investigation, we can develop a strong defense strategy based on our findings. Where optimum, we can negotiate with prosecutors to potentially reduce charges or secure a favorable plea bargain. Should your best interests be served by a jury trial, we can represent you in court, presenting evidence and arguments to persuade the judge or jury of your innocence or mitigate the severity of the penalties.
Throughout it all, we will be by your side providing you with the counsel and support you need while we work to help you secure an optimum result.