The most serious penalties are reserved for the most serious offenses. In Louisiana, first-degree murder is a capital crime, and the death penalty can be invoked following a murder conviction where any one of 13 separate aggravating factors are present. Other homicide offenses can be punished with a life sentence without the possibility of probation or parole. Even a manslaughter conviction can result in a 40-year term in prison.
If you are facing homicide charges, whether you intended death to occur or not, your entire future may be at stake. Don’t gamble with your future; get help from an experienced Louisiana criminal defense lawyer with a record of success. At Ward Law in Baton Rouge, attorney Samuel “Chuck” Ward has gone to trial and won jury verdicts of “not guilty” in murder cases. Ward Law will fight for you and pull out all the stops to achieve the best outcome possible in your circumstances.
Call Ward Law if you have been arrested for murder or homicide in Baton Rouge. You have a constitutional right to be defended by a competent lawyer who will raise all applicable defenses on your behalf and strive for a positive result.
Criminal Homicide and Murder in Louisiana
Homicide is the killing of one human being by another. Louisiana recognizes five different grades of homicide: Vehicular homicide, Negligent homicide, Manslaughter, Second-degree murder, and First-degree murder.
Vehicular homicide can be charged when a person is killed by the driver of a motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft or other means of conveyance when the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Penalties include a fine between $2,000 and $15,000 and between five and 30 years in prison.
Negligent homicide is the killing of a human being by criminal negligence or the killing of a human being by a dog or other animal if the owner was reckless and criminally negligent in the way the dog was confined or restrained. Negligent homicide is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.
Manslaughter is a homicide committed in the heat of passion or the heat of the moment caused by some provocation that would make an average person lose control. A homicide committed without any intent to cause death or great bodily harm can also be charged as manslaughter in certain circumstances. Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of ten years if the victim was under the age of ten.
Second-degree murder is the killing of a human being with the specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm or when committed in the course of committing an enumerated felony, including robbery, rape and certain drug crimes. Second-degree murder is punishable with life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
First-degree murder is the killing of a human being with the specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm while in the commission or attempt to commit certain enumerated felonies, including first or second-degree rape, drug trafficking, armed robbery and other offenses. First-degree murder can also be charged for the intentional killing of certain types of persons, including police officers, firefighters, cab drivers, correctional officers, more than one person, a person under 12 or over 65 years old, a person protected by a no-contact restraining order, a witness to a crime and others.
Defenses to Homicide Charges
Every homicide offense described above contains several elements, including elements of intent, that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury in order to convict the accused of the crime charged. This burden of proof belongs to the state. Ward Law challenges the state’s evidence and raises reasonable doubt when the state’s case is insufficient to convict. In addition, several affirmative defenses to homicide may be present, such as the following:
Self-Defense. According to Louisiana law, A homicide is justifiable when committed in self-defense by one who reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm and that the killing is necessary to save himself from that danger.
Home Protection. A homicide can also be justified when a person is attempting to force themselves into a home or other dwelling, place of business or motor vehicle, and the person committing the homicide reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to prevent the entry or force the intruder to leave.
Stand Your Ground. If you are in a place where you have a right to be and are not engaged in unlawful activity, you do not have to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense or home protection.
Withdrawal from conflict. Even a person who started a fight can claim a killing in self-defense if the accused withdrew from the conflict in good faith but the other person continued the aggression.
Defense of Others. One can lawfully use deadly force to protect a person who is being attacked and would be justified in using force themselves.
Call Ward Law for Dogged and Determined Defense of Homicide and Murder Charges in Baton Rouge
Ward Law is known for conducting thorough investigations into the facts and leaving no stone unturned in building a strong and persuasive defense of homicide or murder charges. As a former prosecutor and lecturer to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, attorney Samuel “Chuck” Ward has the knowledge and experience necessary to prepare and present a compelling case in court. At Ward Law, we accept only a select number of cases each year so we can put in the time needed and devote ourselves to doing the best job possible and delivering results.
If you have been arrested for homicide or murder in Baton Rouge, call Ward Law at 225-330-6677 or 866-928-3047 for a no-cost, confidential consultation. We’ll listen to your story, review your case, and let you know how we can help.