Raleigh Homicide Defense Attorney
When it comes to homicide cases, police and prosecutors aggressively pursue convictions. If they obtain one, the defendant could face the possibility of a death sentence. Even if a convicted defendant avoids capital punishment, he or she could still face prison for life – possibly without any chance of parole. For all of those reasons, anyone who is implicated in a homicide should get immediate assistance from a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.
At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we have a deep background with handling cases involving serious crimes, including homicide and other violent crimes prosecuted in Wake County and other areas of North Carolina. Our team takes a collaborative approach to building a strong defense for our clients, and we deploy every tool and resource at our disposal to fight the prosecution’s case.
If you or a loved one has been charged with homicide in Raleigh or elsewhere in North Carolina, you can count on us to provide honest advice and strategic representation. To learn more, contact us today and discuss the case in a free and confidential consultation.
Types of Homicide in North Carolina
Several different offenses can be classified as a “homicide” in North Carolina. It depends on the nature of the allegations, including whether the act was committed with or without malice, intentionally or unintentionally. The offenses which fall into this category include:
First-degree murder – This is the most serious form of homicide in North Carolina. A first-degree murder is a Class A felony which is punishable by either life in prison or the death penalty. A first-degree murder occurs if a person kills another human being with malice and with a specific intent to kill which the person forms after premeditation and deliberation. It can also occur if the person murders another:
- By poisoning, lying in wait, starvation or torture
- While committing or attempting to commit arson, rape or sexual attacks, robbery, burglary, kidnapping or any other felony involving use of a deadly weapon
- By means of a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon of mass destruction.
In many first-degree murder cases, a key issue is whether the prosecution has evidence of malice. Generally, malice may be established where a person:
- Expresses emotions of hatred, ill will and spite
- Commits an act that shows a “reckless and wanton” disregard for life
- Intentionally inflicts a wound with a deadly weapon.
Another issue in a homicide case may be whether the defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation. For this reason, a person accused of first-degree murder should work with a legal team that will focus on every detail of a case. Even a seemingly minor fact or piece of evidence could mean the difference between a first-degree murder charge, a lesser charge or an acquittal.
Second-degree murder – If a person kills another person with malice but not with premeditation or under any other circumstance that would make it a first-degree murder, then the person may face a Class B1 felony charge for second-degree murder. However, it could be charged as a Class B2 felony charge if the malice involves:
- An inherently dangerous act or omission, which is done with a “reckless and wanton” disregard for human life or social duty
- Distribution of certain types of illegal drugs such as an opioid or methamphetamine.
Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter – A person can be charged with voluntary manslaughter (Class D felony) if the person kills another without malice. A prosecutor may pursue an involuntary manslaughter charge (Class F felony) if the person kills another without malice, premeditation, deliberation or intent to kill or inflict serious bodily injury.
Death by vehicle – If a person kills another unintentionally while driving drunk, and the drunk driving causes the death, the person can be charged with “vehicular manslaughter, a Class D felony. The offense is aggravated, and the person faces a mandatory sentence in the aggravated range, if the person had a prior DWI conviction within seven years of the date of the offense. If a person kills another unintentionally while committing any traffic violation, and the violation causes the death, the person could face a Class A1 misdemeanor charge. A repeat felony death by vehicle is a Class B2 felony.
How an Experienced Homicide Defense Lawyer Can Help You
At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we will put a team of attorneys to work on defending a client accused of homicide, using every tool and resource at our disposal. We will demand to see every bit of evidence that the prosecution plans to use. We can also work closely with independent investigators and experts to comb through the evidence to explore all possible defenses and identify all weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. For instance, a defense in a homicide case could be:
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of mental capacity
- Other mitigating circumstances.
The prosecution’s evidence may also simply fail to meet the elements of the charged homicide offense, which may merit a dismissal or a reduction to a lesser charge. For instance, the evidence may fail to establish an element such as malice, which means the difference between a murder or manslaughter charge. Additionally, if a person is convicted of first-degree murder, a vigorous defense must be presented in a proceeding that will determine whether the defendant receives the death penalty.
All criminal defendants, no matter the nature of the charge, are entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence. Our team will be fully committed to protecting those rights and ensuring that the justice system treats our client fairly, from how the evidence is gathered by police during the investigation phase to how the prosecutor presents the case in the courtroom.
Our Raleigh Homicide Defense Attorneys Will Be in Your Corner
If you or a loved one has been implicated in a homicide, you cannot afford to wait to get legal help. As soon as possible, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney with the experience to make a difference. At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we fight aggressively to protect our clients’ rights, provide them with strategic representation and give them meaningful advice at every step in the process. Contact us today to put our highly dedicated legal team in your corner.