Undoubtedly, if you are facing a murder or manslaughter charge, you understand that your freedom is at stake. In Missouri, the criminal justice system is tougher on homicide-related offenses than any other criminal offense. If you or a loved one has been arrested or is being investigated on a homicide-related charge, you need the immediate help of a St. Louis criminal law attorney.
In Missouri, the law distinguishes between first degree murder and second degree murder. Likewise, Missouri law distinguishes between voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
First degree murder is the most serious charge an individual can face. It is defined as “knowingly” causing the death of another “after deliberation.” A first degree murder charge may carry the possibility of facing death penalty, if convicted.
Typically, second degree murder is the appropriate charge where the defendant lacks the necessary intent that is required in a first degree murder charge. Under either classification of murder, it is an incredibly serious charge that requires the immediate assistance of a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer.
Missouri statute 565.021.2 provides the law for what is most commonly known as felony murder. Felony murder allows a prosecutor to prove the crime of murder by proving the defendant is guilty of an underlying dangerous felony. A prosecutor has this option if a death occurs during a dangerous felony, during the attempt to commit a dangerous felony, or during the flight from a dangerous felony. In other words, the prosecutor does not need to prove that an individual possessed the intent to commit murder. A few of the dangerous felonies that can invoke this statute are:
Further, a prosecutor has discretion to charge a defendant under this statute instead of involuntary manslaughter when both statutes apply.
According to Missouri law, a person commits the crime of voluntary manslaughter if he: (1) causes the death of another person under circumstances that would constitute murder in the second degree, except that he caused the death under the influence of sudden passion arising from adequate cause; or (2) knowingly assists another in the commission of self-murder. The defendant has the burden of injecting the issue of influence of sudden passion arising from adequate cause.
Although extremely serious, involuntary manslaughter is a somewhat less severe charge than a voluntary manslaughter charge. To be convicted of a involuntary manslaughter charge, the prosecution needs to prove that the defendant caused the death of another by acting recklessly. Penalties for vehicle-related deaths can be found on our DWI Page.
If you are or a loved one has been arrested for a homicide-related charge or are being investigated for one, it is imperative that you immediately seek the help of a skilled St. Louis criminal defense attorney. At Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C., we will aggressively protect your rights and defend your freedom. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offer free consultations.