An arrested person accused of homicide must understand exactly what they’re being charged with and what the potential penalties might be. They also need to hire a lawyer to work on their defense or have the charges either lowered or dismissed. The potential charges they are facing include the following.

First-Degree Murder

First-degree murders are those that are intentional and where the person took the time to plan the murder. The planning may have only taken a few minutes, but the murder itself was planned. With a first-degree murder charge, the accused faces the death penalty or life in prison without the chance of parole if they’re convicted.

Second-Degree Murder

A second-degree murder is one that was intentional but was not planned ahead of time. This is often the charge if planning is possible but cannot be proven. Someone who is convicted of second-degree murder faces a minimum of 10 years in prison to a maximum of life in prison.


Manslaughter is a murder charge where the murder was not intentional. One example of this is when someone is driving drunk, hits another car, and kills the people in the other car. They didn’t intend to commit murder, but someone died because of their negligence. Manslaughter charges include two to four years in prison as well as fines of up to $1,000.

Justifiable/Excusable Homicide

This is not something an arrested person will be charged with. Rather, it can be a reason for charges to be dropped against the accused. Justifiable or excusable homicide is where the person had a reason for killing someone, such as to save their own life. There is no fine or prison time if the homicide is deemed justifiable or excusable.

If you have been charged with homicide or believe you may be a suspect in a homicide investigation, talk to a lawyer immediately to get help. They can let you know exactly what penalties you’re facing as well as help you create a defense. Visit now to learn more about how a criminal defense lawyer can help you or find a lawyer so you can speak with them about your case right away.

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