One of the most serious charges that a defendant can face is murder, even if the accusation is wrongful or based on incorrect information. Although you may be tempted to speak with the authorities in an attempt to explain the misunderstanding, this can often do more harm than good and make the situation even more challenging. At the Olsinski Law Firm, our Charlotte and Concord murder defense lawyers know what is at stake for you in this situation. If you are under investigation for murder anywhere in North Carolina and have not been formerly charged, it is still important to speak with an attorney so that you understand the scope of your rights and options. Hoping that things resolve on their own may feel like the easiest solution, but taking a proactive approach and learning about your rights is essential to protecting yourself.North Carolina Homicide Laws
Under North Carolina law, the prosecution must prove that a killing was intentional in order for a jury to convict a defendant of murder. There are different classifications of murder charges in the state. First-degree murder involves acts that were premeditated or planned ahead of time. A second-degree murder was intentional, but it happened in a reckless manner that was not planned out in advance.
Voluntary manslaughter is also known as a killing of passion, in which the defendant was in the heat of the moment at the time of the act, such as finding his or her significant other engaged in an affair with another person. Finally, involuntary manslaughter occurs when the death was not intentional, but it resulted from the actions of another person. Perhaps the most common example of an involuntary manslaughter charge is a drunk driving accident that results in a fatality. Vehicular manslaughter describes situations in which someone drives negligently, and a death results from that careless but not intentional conduct. A murder defense attorney in Charlotte or Concord can help you determine which level of homicide charge may apply to your case.
In order for the prosecution to prevail, it faces the heavy burden of convincing the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant engaged in the alleged conduct. This is particularly challenging for first- and second-degree murder cases, in which the prosecution must put forth evidence showing that the defendant intended to kill the victim.Defenses to Murder Charges
Even if you think that you are facing a difficult situation, there are ways to put forth a defense in a murder case to protect your rights and to ensure that you receive a fair outcome. One of the key aspects of building a defense involves understanding all of the evidence regarding the victim’s death and your alleged role in the situation.
Examining the police’s conduct during the investigation can also help identify potential grounds for having the case dismissed or the charges reduced. If the police fail to abide by due process rules, such as having a reasonable suspicion before questioning you or a warrant to search your home, a Charlotte or Concord murder defense attorney can work to get any evidence obtained from the resulting activity suppressed.
Other common defenses to a murder charge include self-defense, in which you had an imminent and reasonable fear for your safety, and mistaken identity. It is not uncommon for suspects to try to show that someone else was responsible for the crime. You can also offer evidence to show that the death was a result of an accident and that you did not act intentionally. Although this may not result in the charge being dropped, it may reduce the charge from first- or second-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, which carries lighter penalties.Speak with a Compassionate Criminal Lawyer in Charlotte or Concord
Murder charges are some of the most daunting and life-altering challenges that a person can face. While you will still experience stress and disruption in your life, having an experienced criminal defense attorney to guide you through the judicial system can ease the burden of the situation. We represent people throughout North Carolina, including in Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Cornelius, Davidson, Pineville, Kannapolis, Harrisburg, Midland, Mount Pleasant, Salisbury, and other areas of Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, and Rowan Counties. To schedule a free and confidential appointment with a murder defense lawyer in Charlotte or Concord, call our Charlotte office at 704-405-2580 or our Concord office at 704-918-4747, or contact us online.