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Missouri Murder, Homicide, & Manslaughter Laws
When you are charged with murder or involuntary manslaughter, the outcome of the case can be life changing. Homicide cases are the most serious types of cases in Missouri because of the severity of penalties. In the State of Missouri there are different charges and level of severity when a victim is killed. It depends on multiple factors such as the defendant’s mental state and other mitigating factors.
The following are the possible murder charges:
- Murder in the 1st Degree
- Murder in the 2nd Degree
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- Involuntary Manslaughter 1st Degree
- Involuntary Manslaughter 2nd Degree
You want to consult with a St. Louis murder attorney as soon as possible if you were recently charged with this offense. The attorneys at Miller & Hine are dedicated to provide the best possible defense to our clients, no matter what the charges against them may be. Your freedom and future are at stake.
Murder vs. Manslaughter in St. Louis
In the US, we hear a number of terms that all signify the killing of another human being. When you are accused of causing someone else’s death, you can be charged with different forms of what we generally call homicide.
But each homicide is different. Depending on the facts of your case, a prosecutor could charge you with either murder or manslaughter.
A person is typically charged with manslaughter if they kill someone else without forming the intent to cause the death. For example, if you cause a fatal accident while drunk driving, you may not have intended to take the person’s life, but you may still be charged with vehicular manslaughter for causing their death.
Voluntary vs. Involuntary Manslaughter in Missouri
Manslaughter can be voluntary or involuntary. An example of voluntary manslaughter would be if a drunk driver hits your child, and in a rage, you severely beat the driver, and he dies. The fact that you were in the heat of passion at that moment, and not able to think clearly, would suggest that you were unable to form the intent to kill when you beat the person to death.
For example, involuntary manslaughter could be charged if you gave a friend a dangerous amount of drugs. Your friend takes the drugs and dies. Although you had no intent to kill them, a prosecutor may claim that your actions constituted a reckless disregard for human life, justifying the accusation of involuntary manslaughter.
First-degree vs. Second-degree Murder in Missouri
Murder, on the other hand, requires a malicious intent to kill, and it exposes you to life in prison. Murder in Missouri can be charged as first-degree or second-degree.
Murder can also be charged where certain dangerous weapons are used or when the killing occurs during the commission of a felony.
First-degree murder is punishable by a sentence of death or life imprisonment without the possibility of probation or parole. First-degree murder is typically charged when the killing is done in a willful, deliberate, and premeditated way.
All murder charges that are not first-degree murder are considered second-degree murder, and punishable by a sentence of 10-30 years in prison or life imprisonment.
Defending a Murder Charge in St. Louis
Regardless of the type of homicide that you are accused of, these are among the most serious charges that can be brought against you and require experienced legal representation. When someone hires us to represent them, and they are accused of murder, we first sit down and decide the possible defenses in your case.
The most obvious defense, in most cases, is you acted in self-defense. You are entitled to use deadly force to protect yourself or your loved ones if you are attacked with deadly force. So, in many cases, we can show that our client had the right to use force because they were being attacked with deadly force themselves.
There are many other defenses to a murder charge, such as mistaken identity, i.e., you were not even in the area where the murder was committed. Another defense is that you did not act with premeditation and deliberation, which the prosecutor must prove to convict you of first-degree murder.
The St. Louis murder lawyers at Miller & Hine have experience with all types of homicide charges and have procured excellent results, including acquittals. If you or a loved one are facing such charges, call us as soon as possible.
Call our murder lawyers in St. Louis today for a free consultation.