Manassas Homicide Defense Attorneys
Murder/Homicide vs Manslaughter in Virginia
The term “homicide” refers to any instance where a person kills someone else. Both “murder” and “manslaughter” are types of homicide, but there is an important distinction between the two crimes. Murder involves the intentional killing of someone, while manslaughter is unintentional.
- First-degree murder requires malice aforethought. This generally means that the killing was premeditated, and the perpetrator fully intended to end the victim’s life. Second-degree murder occurs when the killing is done with malice but is not premeditated, meaning that while a deliberate killing did ultimately occur, the perpetrator had no intention of committing the crime prior to the incident.
- Capital murder, the most serious homicide offense in Virginia, can be charged if the underlying murder meets certain conditions or occurred in connection with other serious crimes. Numerous scenarios and factors can trigger enhanced capital murder charges, including deliberately killing more than one person, killing a minor under the age of 14 as an adult, or killing a law enforcement officer.
- Voluntary manslaughter involves an intentional act to commit harm after being provoked. Sometimes referred to as “crimes as passion,” this charge is distinct from second-degree murder, even though both involve intentional acts without premeditation. The provocation must be significant enough that another person would likely react similarly if placed in the same situation.
- Involuntary manslaughter occurs when someone has no intention of killing someone else, but their actions nonetheless result in death. This is common in cases involving serious traffic offenses where reckless driving or driving under the influence leads to fatal accidents.
Homicide is one of the most serious criminal offenses in the state of Virginia. A murder conviction can result in the death penalty, meaning that your life may be literally at stake. It can be easy to feel hopeless when accused of murder or homicide, but you do not have to face these charges alone. Our Manassas homicide defense lawyers at Dischley Law, PLLC can leverage our over 30 years of legal experience to vigorously defend you and seek the best possible outcome.
Penalties for Homicide in Virginia
All homicides are prosecuted as felonies in Virginia, meaning a conviction can lead to multiple years in prison. The extent of sentencing will depend on the unique circumstances of the case.
Potential consequences for homicide offenses in Virginia include:
- Life imprisonment or the death penalty, plus a fine of up to $100,000, for capital murder convictions
- 20 years to life in prison, plus a fine of up to $100,000, for first-degree murder convictions
- 5 to 40 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $100,000, for second-degree murder convictions
- 1 to 10 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $2,5000, for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter convictions
- Minimum 1 year in prison and up to 20 years in prison for aggravated involuntary manslaughter convictions
How We Can Help Defend Against Homicide Charges in Virginia
You are innocent until proven guilty, even when accused of any type of homicide. A successful defense strategy will depend on the specific crime you are charged with, the available evidence, and any other mitigating factors relevant to your case.
Our Manassas homicide defense attorneys at Dischley Law, PLLC understand how these cases are adjudicated in Virginia and can work with you to explore every possible legal approach. This may involve negotiating a plea deal in exchange for reduced charges or defending you before a jury in court. We can help you understand your rights and advise on what course of action is likely to result in the most favorable outcome.
“I chose Dischley Law in part because they are a Veteran-owned firm, but also because of their competitive fees and the compassion they demonstrated as I described my case during the consultation”- C.G.
“After receiving a Reckless Driving summons in Fairfax, VA, I contacted a number of lawyers. I found my conversation with Dischley Law to be the most helpful and comforting.”- R.M.
“You will not find a more caring and proactive attorney in your search for effective representation. David gets right to the heart of the case, finds the defenses, and presents them at the right time.”- J.M.