Have you or someone you care about been arrested on suspicion of homicide in Louisville? Understand that the state will begin to investigate and build a case against you right away. Don’t give them an inch. Contact an experienced Louisville homicide attorney at Suhre & Associates, LLC to level the playing field.
Our legal team has more than 15 years of experience successfully defending clients like you against serious criminal charges, including homicide. We know how to investigate your case and find the best way to undermine the state’s case against you. Our tenacious approach will give you the best shot at beating the murder charges and protecting your future.
Contact our Louisville, Kentucky law firm today at (502) 371-7000 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll review your case and explain your legal rights. It’s important to get started right away, so call for assistance today.
What is Homicide?
Homicide means that you are responsible for killing another person. In Kentucky, homicide can be charged as murder, manslaughter, and reckless homicide.
What is Murder?
Murder, as defined in KRS 507.020, occurs when you intentionally and successfully cause the death of another person. You can be charged with murder if you are responsible for the death of an intended target or a third party.
Under KRS 507.020(b), you can also face murder charges if you cause another person’s death while operating a motor vehicle. However, your conduct must have been “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life” and you “wantonly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another person.”
No Murder Charges If Emotionally Disturbed
There are certain times when you might not be culpable – or responsible – for your actions. If you are “under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse,” you will not be guilty of murder. However, you could still face charges for the lesser crime of manslaughter.
Murder is a Capital Offense
Regardless of why you’re charged with murder, it’s critical to know that homicide is a capital offense in the state of Kentucky. The death penalty can be imposed if you’re convicted of murder.
Does the death penalty apply in every murder case? No. State prosecutors must decide to pursue the death penalty. If that happens and you are convicted, a jury will determine whether or not that punishment is appropriate in your particular case. A jury can decide to decline the death penalty in favor of other punishments, such as life imprisonment.
What Does the State Have to Prove When I’m Charged With Murder?
Murder means that you’ve intended to and successfully killed another person. What, specifically, does the state have to prove when you’re charged with the crime? There are two primary elements: intent and causation.
Intent: You can’t be convicted of murder if you didn’t intend to kill another person. Intent means that you acted knowingly and willfully. You set out to cause a specific result. If you cause another person’s death by mistake, you’d likely be charged with manslaughter because you lacked the intent for murder.
Causation: The state has to prove that your actions were responsible for another person’s death. They have to prove that you are directly or indirectly responsible for the sequence of events that resulted in the victim’s death. This can include pulling the trigger, hiring another person to commit the act, or administering poison over an extended period of time.
Penalties for Murder in Louisville
Murder is a felony and capital offense in the state of Kentucky. A conviction carries some of the most severe penalties the state can impose. If convicted of murder in Louisville, you could face:
- 20 to 50 years in a state prison
- 25 years to life in prison
- Life in prison without the possibility of parole, or
- The death penalty.
What will influence your criminal sentence after a conviction? Your criminal record, your intent, the victim’s degree of suffering, and other aggravating factors can all play a part when a court calculates your sentence.
Lesser Homicide Offenses
Murder means that you maliciously and intentionally killed another person. What happens if you’re accused of killing another person, but didn’t act with malice? You could face criminal charges for reckless homicide or manslaughter.
Under KRS 507.030, first-degree manslaughter is defined as causing the death of another person while acting “with the intent to cause serious physical injury.” In other words, you didn’t necessarily intend to kill the other person, only to cause severe harm.
First-degree manslaughter is Class B Felony, punishable by between 10 and 20 years in prison.
Second-degree manslaughter, as defined in KRS 507.040, occurs when you “wantonly cause the death of another person.” Examples include causing the death of another person by:
- Operating a motor vehicle
- Leaving a child under the age of 8 unattended in a vehicle, or
- Distributing a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance.
Second-degree manslaughter is a Class C Felony, punishable by between five and 10 years in prison.
Reckless homicide, as defined in KRS 507.050, occurs when you “recklessly cause the death of another person.” Recklessness means that you disregarded the potentially disastrous consequences of your actions. This conduct exceeds mere negligence. For example, you could face reckless homicide charges if you drive a car that you know has brakes that probably won’t work and cause a fatal accident. You consciously disregarded the risk involved in driving that vehicle.
Reckless homicide is a Class D Felony, punishable by one to five years in prison.
How Can I Defend Homicide Charges in Kentucky?
Remember, the state has the burden of proving that you’re guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard that can be challenging to satisfy, especially when faced with a tough defense. At Suhre & Associates, our Louisville homicide defense lawyers will thoroughly investigate your alleged crime and determine which defense(s) are best suited for your case. These may include:
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of required criminal intent
- Mental incapacity
- Self-defense or defense of another person, or
- Violations of your Constitutional rights.
The state can’t benefit from an illegal search or arrest. If we can prove that evidence has been obtained, we’ll ask a court to exclude it from your case. Without evidence of murder, the state may be forced to charge you with a lesser crime, consider a plea, or drop the charges altogether.
Call a Louisville Homicide Attorney at Suhre & Associates For Help
Are you facing criminal homicide charges in Louisville? The state will not waste any time in building its case against you. You have to make sure that your rights are protected. Do not hesitate to contact the criminal defense lawyers at Suhre & Associates for immediate legal assistance. During your free consultation, we’ll review your case and answer any questions you have. Your future is on the line, so call our law office for help today.