Defense against murder charge
For many people, even hearing the word “murder” is enough to make them break into a cold sweat. Murder – also known as homicide – is generally viewed as one of the most egregious crimes in our society. In Indiana, as in other states, first degree murder carries the most severe penalties of any type of homicide offense, with mandatory sentences ranging between 45 and 65 years in prison.
Recently, the television program, Making a Murderer, has attracted a great deal of attention. The series profiles a true crime story involving Steven Avery, who was exonerated in 2003 after serving 18 years in prison for a sexual assault. He was later convicted of murder in 2007 and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. Many believe Avery is innocent and was framed for the murder after he filed a $36 million wrongful imprisonment civil lawsuit against the county, the county sheriff, and the district attorney in 2005. His murder arrest occurred while his wrongful imprisonment lawsuit was pending.
Many people are quick to mentally convict someone suspected of first degree murder as immediately guilty, regardless of the circumstances or the evidence available. If you have been charged with murder, you are probably feeling a strong mix of emotions that include fear, frustration, and anxiety.
If you are facing this type of charge, it is also important to know there are several defenses available to you. No criminal case is indefensible.
Lack of intent – To be convicted of first degree murder, an individual must have intentionally and deliberately taken another person’s life. If the prosecution fails to prove intent, it is possible the defendant can be charged with a lesser criminal offense, such as manslaughter.
Lack of knowledge – If you caused a death accidentally, you cannot be convicted of first degree murder.
Insanity – An individual suffering from certain types of mental health conditions may not fully understand what he or she did. In these cases, the defense may be able to establish the defendant cannot be held guilty due to a lack of mental capacity.
Intoxication – In some cases, it is possible to show that a defendant lacked the mental acuity to carry out a murder due to intoxication.
Self-defense – Under Indiana law, a person has a right to defend himself against the immediate threat of physical harm or death. This is an affirmative defense to first degree murder.
Indiana Criminal Defense
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