Virginia Murder & Manslaughter Defense Attorney
If you are facing murder or manslaughter charges, finding an experienced attorney is extremely important. Depending on the severity of the charges, you could be facing life in jail or even the death penalty. The stakes could not be higher and they require a serious attorney who knows what to expect. You also need an attorney who will listen to you with an open mind and mount a vigorous defense. The Virginia murder and manslaughter attorneys at The Law Offices of Patrick N. Anderson and Associates have handled these types of serious cases and will give you the experience and aggressiveness you deserve.
There are six main types of charges you may face in the killing of another person:
- First-Degree Murder: The Virginia Code specifies first degree murder as a killing during the commission of certain crimes, including arson, rape, robbery, burglary, or abduction. Additionally, any killing by poison, lying in wait, imprisonment, starvation, or any other willful, deliberate, and premeditated means will be considered first-degree murder. First-degree murder is punishable by incarceration for a minimum of 20 years and maximum of a life sentence, as well as a fine of up to $100,000.
- Second-Degree Murder: If you intentionally kill another person with no prior intent to kill him or her, you may be facing voluntary manslaughter charges. This is often referred to as a “heat of passion” crime. Circumstances surrounding the murder must have caused you to become emotionally or mentally disturbed. If you are facing this charge and circumstances would not have caused you emotional or mental distress, you will likely face first or second-degree murder charges instead. Voluntary manslaughter is punishable as a class 5 felony. It can be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or up to a fine of $2,500.
- Voluntary Manslaughter: Manslaughter is a common law offense, meaning it is defined by the courts and not a statute. Manslaughter has been defined as an intentional homicide that occurred during mutual combat or as a result of heat of passion induced by reasonable provocation. See Couture v. Commonwealth, 51 Va. App. 239, 656 S.E.2d 425, 430 (2008). Voluntary manslaughter is punishable as a class 5 felony, with a minimum of one year and up to ten years incarceration, or, in the discretion of the judge or jury, up to twelve months incarceration and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
- Involuntary Manslaughter: Involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another person, for example as a result of driving while intoxicated. Involuntary manslaughter is punishable as a class 5 felony, similar to voluntary manslaughter. However, if the defendant’s conduct is so gross, wanton and culpable as to show reckless disregard for human life, the charge may become aggravated involuntary manslaughter, which carries a punishment of one to twenty years incarceration.
- Felony Murder: An unintentional killing that occurs during the commission of a felony that is not listed under the capital murder and first degree murder statutes. This is technically considered second degree murder and is punishable as the same, with five to 40 years incarceration.
- Murder of a Pregnant Woman or Her Fetus: If, without premeditation, an individual intentionally and deliberately kills a woman that the individual knows is pregnant, with the intent of terminating that woman’s pregnancy, the individual faces ten to 40 years incarceration. The unlawful, willful, deliberate and malicious killing of a fetus is punishable by five to 40 years incarceration.
If you are facing murder or manslaughter charges, call us immediately. You need a strong, experienced team fighting for your freedoms and we are prepared to work for you to help you obtain the best outcome. With 34 years of experience, our team has the expertise to defend you. No matter how serious the charges against you, we will work tireless to get you the best outcome possible. Our legal assistance covers the Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, and Northern Virginia territories.