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Murder Attorney in Independence, Missouri

Facing a murder or homicide conviction is something no one wants to experience. These crimes carry some of the harshest penalties in the United States—even a manslaughter conviction may mean a considerable number of 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

The killing of a human being is called "homicide" when it is caused by another person, whether intentionally or accidentally. Two types of homicides are murder and manslaughter.

The most serious homicides are murders, which carry the most serious penalties. Murder is a homicide that is the illegal killing of another person. Under Missouri law, murder is defined as one person killing another person with malice aforethought. Malice is defined as the knowledge and intention or desire to do evil. Malice aforethought is found when one person kills another person with the intention to do so. This is most commonly called premeditation or premeditated murder.

Manslaughter is a homicide that is the unintentional killing of another person. These cases are treated as much less severe crimes than murder and do not involve malice or a premeditated action.

Types of Murder Charges In Missouri

If you are currently facing a murder charge, you are probably fearful about your future. In Missouri, laws distinguish between first-degree and second-degree murder. 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.

Missouri punishes second-degree murder with a minimum of 10 years in prison up to a life sentence. If the offender committed murder while committing a different felony, the sentences will run separately, resulting in a longer prison term.

First-Degree Murder

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

Despite the severity of these charges, individuals charged with murder have the right to a 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 occurs when a person kills another without any premeditation. An example of voluntary manslaughter is killing another person in the heat of the passion. The intent was to kill another person or inflict bodily harm; however, the action was not premeditated. The 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 usually refers to an unintentional killing that results from criminal negligence or recklessness, or from committing an offense such as a DUI. It differs from voluntary manslaughter in that the victim's death is unintended. 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. Generally, there are two broad categories for murder defenses. One is when a defense attorney tries to show that the prosecution is trying the wrong person. The second is when an attorney admits that the accused murderer killed, but did so in a manner that was justified. Both categories of murder defenses can hold weight, depending on the circumstances of the trial.

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.