Birmingham Murder Defense Attorney

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Homicide, Manslaughter, and Murder Charges in Alabama

If you’re accused of taking a life, you’re facing some of the most serious penalties available in Alabama state law. Murder is a Class A Felony that carries life in prison or the death penalty. Most other homicide charges draw decades in prison, and law enforcement rarely treats homicide defendants kindly.

If you’re accused of murder or manslaughter in Alabama, don’t say a single word to law enforcement until a murder defense attorney is by your side.

Contact Alabama Criminal Lawyers today at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.

Murder Charges in Alabama

Under Alabama state law, murder is the intentional taking of a life or causing a death through gross recklessness. You can also be charged with murder if you’re accused of causing a death while committing certain violent crimes, including arson that causes the death of a public safety official. The only exception is when the murder was committed in the heat of passion, which is most likely to be charged as manslaughter.

The Death Penalty Information Center reports reveal that in 2014 there were 5.7 murders out of 100,000 people in the state of Alabama. This number is a noticeable decrease from the state’s 7.2 people murdered out of 100,000 in 2013. Many of these murders result in charges being filed against other individuals. When individuals in Alabama face murder charges the potential consequences can be substantial including a substantial trial length, a long prison sentence, and in some cases even execution.

It is imperative that individuals in Alabama who face murder charges obtain the legal counsel of an experienced murder defense attorney. There are some basic pieces of information about murder charges of which individuals in the state of Alabama should be aware, which include the following:

Murder Charges Are Frequently The Result of Poor Investigation

One of the most significant reasons why it is essential to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney that individuals charged with murder must understand is that murder charges are frequently the end product of rushed judgment and poor investigations. A skilled defense attorney will know how to defend against this type of investigation in order to protect the rights of a client.

The Dangers of Hiring A Public Defender

An Alabama public defender will do the best job possible for a defendant, but these attorneys are almost always overworked, overpaid, and juggling a large caseload. Entrusting this type of attorney with a murder case that can change substantially in terms of sentencing based on minuscule issues in a case often proves to be an unwise idea.

How Murder Is Classified In Alabama

It is imperative for individuals who charged with murder in the state of Alabama to understand that there actually several different types of murder charges in Alabama. The most serious of these charges is capital murder, which results in either a death sentence or life without the possibility of parole. Most often, capital murder charges accompany the conviction of other charges offenses including burglary, kidnapping, and robbery. Capital murder cases actually involve two trials: a trial to determine guilt and a sentencing trial.

Manslaughter Charges in Alabama

Manslaughter is a less serious form of murder. It’s most likely to be charged when the murder was committed in the heat of passion and before the accused had time to calm down. It can also be charged when the accused behaved recklessly (very carelessly), but not with extreme indifference to human life. Manslaughter is a Class B felony carrying up to 20 years in prison.

Criminally Negligent Homicide Charges in Alabama

Criminally negligent homicide is charged when the accused was “criminally negligent.” Negligence is unreasonable carelessness; a failure to act to stop death, for example, could be considered criminally negligent. Criminally negligent homicide is a Class A misdemeanor carrying up to a year in prison, but can also be charged for DUI homicide, in which case it’s a Class C felony carrying up to 10 years in prison.

Attempted Murder Charges in Alabama

Attempted murder charges can arise in a variety of situations including fights that got too out of control. When individuals in Alabama who face attempted murder charges can potentially face a variety of punishments including extended prison sentences. Given the seriousness of the matter, it is crucial that individuals in the state of Alabama who face murder charges consult with an experienced attempted murder lawyer. There are also some essential pieces of information that individuals must know about attempted murder charges in the state of Alabama.

The Intent To Kill Requirement

To be convicted of attempted murder charges in the state of Alabama, it must be demonstrated that an individual had the “intent to kill” another human being. In many situations, intent to kill can be particularly difficult to prove. While threatening someone with a deadly weapon can result in criminal charges, brandishing a deadly weapon alone is often not sufficient to demonstrate that an individual possessed the intent to kill.

An experienced murder defense attorney is able to help a client defend against accusations of intent to kill. Opposing parties will attempt to demonstrate that an individual had the intent to kill in several ways including whether the individual made any plans regarding a murder, how easily an individual’s actions could have resulted in the death of someone, and the deadliness of the weapon that was used.

An Overt Act Is Required

In order for an attempted murder charge to be made, it also must be demonstrated that an individual made an “overt” or outward act towards carrying out the murder. Merely planning a crime is not enough to satisfy the overt act requirement. Instead, opposing legal counsel must demonstrate that an individual took physical steps in planning the death of another.

While many individuals are able to successfully defend against attempted murder charges by demonstrating that no physical actions were taken, it must be realized that opposing attorneys will try to argue that any action involved with the attempted murder charge satisfies this requirement.

How to Defend Against Attempted Murder Charges in Alabama

There are fortunately some defenses that can be raised in response to attempted murder charges. Experienced legal counsel will be able to fully investigate a case in order to explore potential defenses that can be raised in response to a charge of attempted murder.

To make sure that an attempted murder charge can be strongly defended, however, frequently depends upon an individual retaining the services of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. One of the strongest available defenses is if an individual is able to demonstrate a withdrawal of change of mind of the actions.

It should be noted that this type of last-minute decisions must be at an individual’s own decision and not because circumstances thwarted an individual’s plans.

Public defenders are often an option when individuals face attempted murder charges, but public defenders are often too overworked to serve as effective legal counsel. Most often, a much wiser decision is selecting an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If you or a loved one faces attempted murder charges in the state of Alabama, do not hesitate to contact us as soon as possible for a free evaluation.

How to Defend Against Murder Charges in Alabama

Fortunately, the law provides several defenses to murder, manslaughter, and homicide. Recognized defenses to a homicide charge include self-defense, defense of others and provocation (“the heat of passion”). Steven D. Perry can use these defenses to get your case dismissed, win at trial or substantially reduce your charges to better fit the facts.

If these aren’t possible, our offices will mount a full defense, using physical evidence, witness testimony and other facts to refute the prosecution’s case and establish reasonable doubt. If necessary, we are prepared to hire expert witnesses who can mount an independent investigation and explain the facts clearly to the jury.

In some cases, clients come to us after making a preliminary plea bargain with prosecutors. This is appropriate for some defendants, but we’ve seen far too many defendants plea bargain when they had a good chance to defend themselves in court. Even if you think you should plead guilty, we urge you to call Alabama Criminal Lawyers for a free consultation about your legal options. With so much at stake, we never advise clients to plead guilty without knowing all their options.

Contact Our Birmingham Murder Lawyers Today

If you or someone you care about is facing murder or manslaughter charges in Alabama, contact us at (205) 981-2450 for a free consultation.