This article will help you understand:
- The information you can provide your lawyer to help them build your defense case.
- Some of the common defenses that can be successfully utilized in a murder case.
- Sentencing guidelines in Virginia, and what the potential penalties may be for homicide charges.
What Information Does My Criminal Defense Attorney Need When Building My Defense In A Murder Case?
If you have a murder charge that is pending, there are several pieces of information you can give your attorney to help them build your defense. You can provide information such as:
- The timeline of where you were before, during, and after the murder.
- Your connection to the deceased person. Would there have been any motive for you to have committed this crime?
- An alibi, if you have one. This is someone who knows where you were during the murder.
- Any additional information that your lawyer asks you to provide.
You want to make sure that you give the lawyer handling your case as much information as you can about the situation. This will help place them in the best position to defend your charges.
What Are Some Possible Defenses For Murder And Homicide Cases In Virginia?
If you’re facing murder or homicide charges, it’s imperative to build a successful defense against your charges. Being charged with murder or homicide can make you feel stuck, or as though you’re cornered and you have no options. You should keep in mind, however, that there are still defenses that you and your lawyer can build, as well as ways of decreasing potential penalties.
Murder cases have a variety of defenses, such as:
Self-defense: This could apply if someone was attacking you, or giving you reasonable fear of death or significant bodily harm. In this situation, you have the ability to defend yourself based on certain elements and factors in Virginia law.
An Alibi: This could apply if you can provide evidence that you were somewhere else during the murder and could not have committed the crime.
Identification: It is relatively easy for the prosecution to establish that someone is dead. Because of this, the issue becomes whether they can prove that the person they charged actually committed the crime. As such, being able to address issues of identification is significant in defending these cases.
What Is Your Firm’s Approach To Defending Murder Charges In Richmond, Virginia?
Given how serious these charges are, our firm’s approach is to be aggressive in handling a case. Part of this process is making sure that we have all the information from the client, though sometimes it is necessary to use additional resources. For example, we may utilize the services of an investigator who can aid our determination of the facts of the case.
Additionally, we will communicate with the prosecutor and figure out their perspective. While this can be helpful to get the prosecutor’s point of view, we will typically have to wait to obtain evidential information from the prosecutor via a process called discovery.
Fortunately, even before we get information from the prosecutor, there are a variety of things we can do to better situate the client. This comes from more than two decades of experience in handling these kinds of cases – in every homicide case, we take an aggressive effort to try to find facts and information that we can utilize to put the client in the best possible position.
I Was Arrested And Charged With Murder In Virginia. If I Intend To Plead Guilty, Do I Still Need A Criminal Defense Attorney To Represent Me?
If you’ve been arrested for homicide, even if you think it’s in your best interest to plead guilty, you should definitely speak with a defense attorney before making any decisions.
Firstly, you may decide that it is not in your best interest to plead guilty after talking to someone who has experience handling these types of cases. Even if there are facts and circumstances that you think make you guilty of the charge, there may be legal particulars that show that the commonwealth cannot prove the case against you.
Second, you have to be aware that the range of punishment for homicide charges is very wide. There is the determination of being found guilty, and then there is the punishment and how much of your life is going to be taken by the state.
Even if you intend to plead guilty, a criminal defense lawyer can give you more options. As such, you want to have an attorney who can negotiate the best sentence to make sure that the amount of time you serve is reasonable for the circumstances.
What Are The Potential Penalties Or Sentencing For Murder Charges In Virginia?
In Virginia, the range of punishment for first-degree murder is 20 years to life. For second-degree murder, the range of penalties is five years to 40 years. Additionally, the state of Virginia has sentencing guidelines – reports that take into account aspects of the person’s criminal record and facts about the charge itself.
There are also points that are piled into a range of time. A low end, a high end, and a midpoint of the sentencing guidelines give the judge the range that this person should serve, either in jail or in the penitentiary. These guidelines are prepared for every felony case where there is a conviction in Virginia.
As an example, for a person without a criminal record who is charged with second-degree murder, the guideline range would be around 12-13 years at the low end, 20 years at the mid-range, and 21-24 years at the high end.
However, if you have a criminal record, or if the charges are for first-degree murder, the guidelines are dramatically higher. Even for someone without a significant record, the high-end guidelines could range between 40 to 45 years.
Does Virginia Have The Death Penalty For Murder Convictions?
The state of Virginia no longer has the death penalty for murder charges.
For more information on Defending Against Murder Charges In Virginia, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (804) 621-0854 today.