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Aggressive Defense Against Murder/Homicide Charges in Virginia

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. A Manassas homicide lawyer at Dischley Law, PLLC, can leverage our over 30 years of legal experience to vigorously defend you and seek the best possible outcome.

If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to have a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney on your side. At Dischley Law, PLLC, our team of experienced lawyers is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals accused of crimes in Manassas, VA and the surrounding areas.

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What is Homicide?

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.

Murder vs. Manslaughter

What's the main difference between murder and manslaughter? It all comes down to intent. If the killer had malice aforethought, then they committed murder. If they did not have malice aforethought, then they committed manslaughter. 

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought. A person can show malice aforethought through evidence of premeditation, motive, or extreme indifference to human life. 

Manslaughter can be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is committed in the heat of passion or in a fit of rage. Involuntary manslaughter is committed due to recklessness or negligence.

Additional Examples of the Difference Between Murder and Manslaughter:

  • 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 occurs 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.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorney. We will review the details of your case, answer any questions you may have, and provide you with the guidance and support you need during this challenging time.

What Are The 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.

The penalties for homicide in Virginia can include the following:

  • 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

Can You Drop Assault Charges in Virginia?

A victim cannot drop assault charges in Virginia. The prosecutor will listen to a victim's wishes, but the victim does not have the final say.

It is up to the police and prosecutor to decide whether to continue arresting and prosecuting the individual. 

There are many degrees and classifications between these crimes, which are determined based on the intention of the accused, the motives behind their actions, and how the accused carried out the murder. All homicide charges require the services of a Manassas criminal defense lawyer.

Contact Our Homicide Lawyer in Manassas Today

You are innocent until proven guilty, even when accused of any type of homicide. A successful defense strategy will depend on the specific violent crime you are charged with, the available evidence, and any other mitigating factors relevant to your criminal case.

Our Manassas homicide 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.

Have you been arrested for homicide? Call Dischley Law, PLLC, today at (703) 215-9337 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our Manassas homicide lawyer.

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