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Murder Attorney in Independence, Missouri

Facing a murder or homicide conviction is something no one wants to experience. These kinds of crimes carry the harshest penalties in the United States—even a manslaughter conviction may mean years in prison. In addition, Missouri is still an active death penalty state and a first-degree murder conviction means there is the potential for execution.  

Regardless of what type of murder charge you may be facing, building the right defense is often the cornerstone for minimizing the impact that a murder or homicide charge can have on your life and freedom. With over three decades of legal experience, Attorney Englert is a criminal defense attorney committed to helping his clients pursue the fresh starts they deserve. His holistic approach carefully considers both the evidence and personal circumstances that are unique to every case.

If you or a loved one has been charged with murder or homicide in Independence or the neighboring areas of Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, or anywhere else in Missouri, put experience on your side and contact Michael J Englert, Attorney at Law.

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Understanding The Difference
Between Murder & Manslaughter

A killing is called "homicide" when it is caused by another individual, whether it happens intentionally or as the result of an accident. Two types of homicides are murder and manslaughter

The most serious classification of homicides is murder, which results in the most serious punishment. Murder is the illegal killing of another individual. Under Missouri law, murder is defined as one person killing another person with malice aforethought. Malice is the intention or desire to commit an evil act. Malice aforethought is one person killing another with the specific intention to do so. This is also referred to as premeditation or premeditated murder. 

Manslaughter is the unintentional killing of a person. This is treated as far less severe than murder and does not involve malice or any premeditation. 

Types Of Murder Charges In Missouri

If you are facing a murder charge, you are understandably afraid about your future. In Missouri, murder charges are classified into the categories of first-degree and second-degree. Defendants must seek effective counsel so they can fully understand the charges against them.

Second-degree murder

To convict a person for second–degree murder, the prosecution must show that the individual killed someone without legal justification. This includes causing injuries that lead to a person’s death, killing a person while in the act of committing a different felony offense, or purposely killing another person.

The state of Missouri punishes a second-degree murder conviction with a minimum of 10 years in prison or a maximum of a life sentence. If the perpetrator committed the murder while in the process of committing another felony, the sentences will run separately, leading to an even longer prison term. 

First-degree murder 

With first-degree murder charges, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant acted following deliberation. Unlike a second-degree murder, which can occur during a fight or in the heat of the moment, first-degree murder is one that the perpetrator planned out. Murder in the first degree is punishable by death or imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole. 

Despite the severity of the charges, people charged with murder still have the right to a fair and honest legal defense. Depending on the facts of your case, your attorney may argue that you acted while intoxicated, did not intend to commit murder, did not commit the crime, or were acting in self-defense. 

Types Of Manslaughter Charges In Missouri

While the law punishes manslaughter crimes less severely than murder, these kinds of crimes still pose stiff conviction penalties. In Missouri, manslaughter charges are separated into two categories: voluntary and involuntary

Voluntary Manslaughter 

Voluntary manslaughter is a person killing someone without premeditation. An example of voluntary manslaughter is killing another person in the heat of the passion. The intent was to kill someone or inflict harm, but the action was not premeditated. Any provocation must be such that a reasonable person under the same circumstances would have acted the same way. In general, penalties for voluntary manslaughter may include a fine of up to $5,000 and 5 to 15 years in prison. 

Involuntary Manslaughter 

Involuntary manslaughter commonly refers to the unintentional killing resulting from criminal negligence or recklessness, such as a DUI. This charge differs from voluntary manslaughter in that the victim's death was an unintended result. General penalties for involuntary manslaughter may include a fine of up to $5,000 and 3 to 10 years in prison.

Possible Murder Defenses 

When facing a murder or manslaughter charge it is incredibly important to know and explore potential defense strategies. There are generally two categories of murder defenses. One is attempting to show that the prosecution is accusing the wrong person of the crime. The second is an attorney admitting that the accused individual committed the act but did so in a justified manner.

Murder Attorney
Serving Independence, Missouri

The serious charges of murder and manslaughter can lead to life-altering penalties. Don’t face these charges alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney will examine the facts and create a strong strategy for your defense. Michael J Englert, Attorney at Law, helps clients in Independence, Missouri, as well as the neighboring areas of Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit. Set up a one-on-one consultation today.