Homicide Defense Attorney in Greenville
Ending another person’s life is one of the most serious crimes that can be committed. If you are convicted of homicide in South Carolina or virtually anywhere else in the United States, you face the possibility of spending the rest of your life in jail or, in some cases, being executed by the state. With such high stakes in mind, it is important that you do everything you can to have the homicide charges against you dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense with a less severe penalty. You only have one chance to get it right, and you’ll need the best representation from a Greenville criminal defense lawyer like AnneMarie Odom.
At AnneMarie Odom Law, a criminal defense firm in Greenville, South Carolina, our priority is thoroughly investigating the facts of your case and identifying weaknesses in the State’s case to assist you in preparing your defense. AnneMarie Odom understands the difficulties of preparing for and defending a murder charge and is well-known for aggressively defending her clients in every case she and her team take on. The sooner you begin working with our firm, the stronger your defense will be. Contact AnneMarie Odom Law at (864) 775-5833 to establish an attorney-client relationship and get to work on forming your defense strategy today.
What is Murder in South Carolina?
According to South Carolina Code Section 16-3-10 and unlike many other states, different degrees of murder (such as first-degree murder or second-degree murder) are not expressly identified or differentiated. Rather, all murder charges are defined as “the killing of any person with malice aforethought, either expressed or implied.”
What Is Malice Aforethought?
The mental condition that must be demonstrated by the prosecution in order to achieve a murder conviction is what is known as malice aforethought. Malice aforethought could signify one of several things, depending on the prosecution’s theory. This includes:
- Intent to kill
- Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm
- Reckless indifference to the value of human life
- Intent to commit a felony
In the case that there was sufficient legal provocation on the part of the accused victim and malice aforethought was not established, the perpetrator may be convicted of manslaughter rather than murder.
Types of Homicide Charges in South Carolina
Under the South Carolina penal code, a person who allegedly causes the death of another person faces a variety of different homicide charges. These charges may include:
- Murder: 30 years-life imprisonment – In South Carolina, murder is the most serious felony crime a person can commit. It is the intentional killing of another person and requires the element of malice aforethought be present.
- Voluntary Manslaughter: 2-30 years – On the other hand, the crime of manslaughter does not require malice aforethought. It is defined as “the unlawful killing of another person without express or implied malice.” Manslaughter may sometimes also be known as voluntary manslaughter.
- Involuntary Manslaughter: 0-5 years – The unplanned and unintentional killing of another individual is known as involuntary manslaughter. Criminal negligence, or a reckless disregard for the safety of others, is involved in the crime of involuntary manslaughter.
- Reckless Vehicular Homicide: When a motor vehicle operator operates their vehicle with extreme indifference to the safety of others, such as DUI in South Carolina, and causes the death of another individual, they may be charged with reckless vehicular homicide.
Regardless of the classification of the offense, any crime that results in the loss of human life will carry harsh penalties. A conviction may result in penalties such as an extensive prison term, significant fines, a permanent criminal record, and mandatory victim restitution payments, to name a few. Your future is at stake so you need the best representation in your corner.
Manslaughter vs. Murders
Manslaughter vs murders, what is the difference? Homicides can either be an intentional act or an accidental killing triggered by careless behavior. Of course, the former would be considered murder and the latter, manslaughter. Though manslaughter charges are typically less severe than those of murder, both are still a major crime and require aggressive defense from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Manslaughter in South Carolina
Manslaughter is defined under South Carolina homicide law as the killing of another person without the malice required for murder. Further, manslaughter is causing the death of another person in the heat of passion after legally sufficient provocation.
The exact distinction between South Carolina murder and manslaughter may sometimes be blurred. The person’s state of mind and the events leading up to the provocation determine whether the heat of passion is present and thus, whether the crime may be considered manslaughter as opposed to murder.
Involuntary Manslaughter in South Carolina
Manslaughter committed inadvertently, known as involuntary manslaughter, is an even lesser offense than both murder and voluntary manslaughter. When a death occurs due to criminally reckless or negligent conduct – this is known as involuntary manslaughter. Though a lesser charge, this is still a very serious crime and could result in a potential prison sentence of up to five years.
Homicides of all kinds are urgently investigated and prosecuted. As a result, if you are suspected or charged with homicide in South Carolina, it is in your best interest to contact a Greenville violent crimes lawyer as soon as possible.
What Are Some Defenses to Murder Charges?
Even if you are facing difficult charges such as those of murder or manslaughter in South Carolina, there are strategies available to you that may present a viable defense.
One of the most critical aspects of preparing a strong defense is understanding all of the evidence surrounding the victim’s death and your alleged role in the matter. The best defense for a murder charge is one that is based on the law and the facts, such as where you were and what you did while the alleged crime was being committed. A skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney like AnneMarie Odom knows what it takes to develop a defense strategy that stands up to even the most formidable prosecutors and toughest cases. Some common defenses that may be available in your case include:
- Self-Defense – It is permissible in South Carolina to use lethal force against another individual if you believe you are in imminent danger from this person. This is what is known as self-defense. For this defense to work, the accused must not have provoked the victim’s acts.
- Accident – The unintentional death of another may very well be caused by a complete accident. Your attorney will work to prove that you were not criminally reckless or negligent and did not present any signs of malice in relation to the death of the victim.
- Castle Doctrine – The Castle Doctrine, also known as the “stand your ground” defense, authorizes South Carolinians to use lethal force to defend themselves at home, in their vehicles, or at work if they think it is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to themselves or others.
- Insanity – When a person’s mental impairment or defect prevents him from differentiating right from wrong, either ethically or legally, during the commission of a crime, an insanity defense can be utilized.
- Lesser Included Offense – In some cases, a murder can be reduced to a lesser included offense such as manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.
Contact a Skilled South Carolina Homicide Defense Attorney Today
If you or a family member have been charged with murder or any other serious criminal offense, choosing an attorney to defend your rights and secure a fair verdict could be one of the most crucial decisions you ever make. Call AnneMarie Odom at (864) 775-5833 to speak with an experienced South Carolina criminal defense lawyer about your homicide charges today.
Call our experienced South Carolina Homicide Defense Attorneys today to schedule a free consultation to go over your legal options, or simply fill out our online intake form to get started.
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