Murder is perhaps the most serious charge in the Criminal Code of Canada, carrying a possible life sentence. The law surrounding homicide can also be the most complicated and nuanced area of criminal law. The subtle and slightest differences in the evidence and facts surrounding a case can mean the difference between guilty and not guilty, between a 12-year sentence and life sentence.
Being charged with murder is a scary and confusing time for an accused person and their family. All persons facing murder related charges deserve a defence lawyer that will carefully and diligently represent them. A criminal lawyer experienced with homicide trials will be able to provide the defendant with trusted and experienced advice and advocacy that will help get the accused person the best possible results.
WHAT IS HOMICIDE?
Homicide is when one person causes the death of another by their unlawful action either by criminal negligence or through violence. It includes first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and manslaughter.
First-degree murder is defined as “planned and deliberate”. It means that there was an intentional plan to murder. The plan to commit murder does not need to be complicated or sophisticated. Further, a homicide can be considered first-degree murder if committed during the course of another crime, or if the victim was forcibly confined, or a police officer.
A conviction for first-degree murder automatically carries a life sentence with no eligibility of parole for 25 years. If you have been accused or are under investigation for murder, you need to contact a criminal lawyer with experience conducting homicide trials.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FIRST AND SECOND DEGREE MURDER?
Second-degree murder includes all intentional homicides that do not fall under the specific categories of first-degree murder. This means the murder was intentional but was not planned and did not happen during another serious offence. A conviction for second-degree murder also carries an automatic life sentence, but parole eligibility will depend on the aggravating features of the case.
NO INTENTION TO MURDER? MANSLAUGHTER?
Manslaughter is homicide with no intention to cause death. There may have been an intention to cause harm, but there was no plan or deliberate intent to cause death. A homicide defence lawyer can help explain to a judge and the jury how their client did not intend to kill their victim or that death was unintentional.
Manslaughter is commonly categorized as a death that was caused by an unlawful act or criminal negligence. When a crime is committed that unintentionally causes death it can be considered an unlawful act. Often seen in the course of an assault that leads to a death while criminal negligence is when a person fails to act, or acts, in a manner that shows a reckless disregard for the lives of others. It is an act that would have been foreseen as endangering a life.
IS AN ATTEMPT MURDER PLANNED & DELIBERATE?
Attempt murder is an intentional attempt to commit murder. The person’s actions must go beyond planning and prepare and they must have made an effort to cause death.
ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT TO MURDER
Accessory after the fact to murder occurs after a murder. The accused knew of the person committing the murder and intentionally assisted the murderer in escaping the legal consequences for the murder.
If you have been accused of murder or manslaughter, contact William Jaksa, Criminal Defence Lawyer at 1-844-LAW-WILL.