Omaha Homicide Defense Attorney
When one person takes the life of another, it is a homicide, whether the taking of life was intentional or unintentional. The circumstances surrounding the act will determine how the crime is charged. In Nebraska, depending on certain factors, homicide may be charged as manslaughter, second-degree murder, or first-degree murder.
Criminal Defense/DUI Services
Factors affecting how homicide is charged include intent and premeditation. Homicide classifications in Nebraska are:
- Manslaughter: This offense is charged for an unintentional killing that is otherwise unjustified. An unlawful killing that is done without malice (intent to kill or cause serious bodily injury) is usually charged as manslaughter.
- Second-degree murder: When a person intentionally kills another person, but without premeditation, the crime is second-degree murder.
- First-degree murder: This is the most serious homicide charge that carries the most severe penalties. First-degree murder occurs when one person takes the life of another, intentionally and with premeditation – considering the crime before committing it.
Unlawful killing committed with malice is the crime of murder. If there was no premeditation, it is charged as second-degree murder. If the crime was premeditated (thought out in advance, no matter how close in time to the act), it is charged as first-degree murder. Manslaughter, on the other hand, is committed without the intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm (malice). In Nebraska, manslaughter can be voluntary or involuntary.
- Voluntary manslaughter is killing with intent and with provocation (upon a sudden quarrel), as stated in Nebraska Revised Statute 28-305.
- Involuntary manslaughter is “. . . an unlawful but unintentional killing, without malice, as the result of the defendant’s commission of an unlawful act . . .”
- First-degree murder is a Class I or Class IA felony. Upon conviction, it carries penalties that include life imprisonment when charged as a Class IA felony, or the death penalty when charged as a Class I felony.
- Second-degree murder is charged as a Class IB felony. It carries a minimum prison sentence of 20 years and up to life imprisonment.
- Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter are Class III felony offenses, with penalties that may include one to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
Applicable defenses against homicide charges will depend on the charges and the unique circumstances of your case. Commonly used defenses include:
- Mistaken identity: You did not commit the crime.
- Self-defense: You acted to prevent immediate serious harm or death.
- Temporary insanity: You failed to understand what you did or to distinguish right from wrong because of a “disease of mind.”
- Charges cannot be proved: To convict a person of a homicide crime, the prosecution must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence may be circumstantial, weak, or missing altogether.
Choosing an Omaha criminal defense attorney may be the most important decision you make in your case. Murder and manslaughter charges carry severe penalties, up to life in prison. Having a lawyer with the knowledge, skills, and resources to present the best possible defense can make all the difference in the outcome.
If you are facing homicide charges, call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a free consultation. Do not speak to the police or admit to anything without first consulting an experienced Omaha criminal defense lawyer. Criminal justice is a complex system in Nebraska. You deserve a strong defense to protect your future.
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