Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys in Charlotte NC
MURDER AND HOMICIDE
The Snow Legal’s Mecklenburg criminal defense law firm has licensed federal criminal defense attorneys waiting to help you. We have represented hundreds of clients throughout the state of North Carolina. Federal charges differ from criminal charges at the state level, and as a result, federal court is much different to state court. Successfully defending a client facing a federal charge requires an experienced criminal defense attorney and a law firm with in-depth knowledge of the federal justice system.
Murder Charges in North Carolina
In the state of North Carolina, murder is the intentional killing of another person, and there are several different types of murder offenses that you can be charged with. This includes;
- First-degree murder — A crime is classed as first-degree murder if it is a premeditated killing that was committed deliberately. You can also be charged with first-degree murder if a felony crime results in the death of another person.
- Felony murder — As stated, a felony crime that results in the death of another person can result in a first-degree murder charge. If you are an accomplice to a felony crime, for example, the get-away driver of a bank robbery, and the crime results in the death of another person, you can still be charged with first-degree murder even if you did not commit the killing yourself. Other felony crimes that could result in a first-degree murder charge include arson, sex crimes, kidnapping, and burglary.
- Second-degree murder. — A crime can be classed as second-degree murder if it was not premeditated but is as a result of the reckless disregard for another person’s life.
- Voluntary manslaughter — Voluntary manslaughter is the intentional killing of another person that is not premeditated and typically occurs during the heat of the moment, or in response to a provocation.
Penalties of a Murder Conviction in North Carolina
As well as the personal and social consequences of a murder conviction, you could also lose your freedom, or even your life. If you are found guilty of first-degree murder in North Carolina, you could face death by lethal injection. Other murder and manslaughter convictions, like vehicular manslaughter, can result in life imprisonment — especially if there are aggravating factors — or a minimum prison term.
- First-degree murder and Felony murder — Both First-degree murder and Felony murder are Class A felonies and can result in death by lethal injection or life imprisonment with no parole.
- Second-degree — Second-degree murder in North Carolina can be either a Class B1 felony or a or Class B2 felony. A Class B1 felony can result in a minimum prison sentence of 192 months up to life in prison, and a Class B2 felony carries a minimum sentence of 125 months up to life imprisonment.
- Voluntary manslaughter — Voluntary manslaughter is a Class D felony which carries a minimum sentence of 51 months in prison.
Why Is It Important To Hire A Charlotte Murder Lawyer?
We take the legal rights of our clients very seriously. If you are facing a murder charge in North Carolina, it is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney that will protect your legal interests at every step. The defense attorneys at The Snow Legal law firm are skilled criminal defense lawyers who have successfully defended hundreds of clients throughout the state of NC. As knowledgeable and experienced Charlotte criminal defense attorneys, we understand that facing a homicide charge can be frightening for both you and your family.If you’ve have been arrested, or are currently being investigated for murder, it is crucial that you contact a Charlotte murder attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, innocent people are wrongly accused of murder often in the United States, but it’s important to remember that securing legal representation will not make you look guilty. Many people inadvertently incriminate themselves during their investigation, even though they are innocent. Contact Snow Legal’s skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to avoid making this mistake.
Building a Homicide Defense in North Carolina
Building a strategic murder defense requires intimate knowledge of the legal process and ideally starts before an arrest has even taken place. Our first priority is to listen to your concerns and understand your situation. Each case is different, and we strive to ensure the safety and confidentiality of our clients. In the first instance, we will aim to secure a dismissal of your homicide charges — if this is not possible, we will work to obtain the best verdict possible for your case.
Potential defense strategies against homicide in North Carolina include, but are not limited to;
- Mistaken identity – If your homicide charge is a case of mistaken identity, we will fight on your behalf to assert your alibi wherever possible. We will also challenge any evidence that may place you at the scene of the crime, including challenging identifications made by witnesses and challenges to forensic evidence.
- Self-defense – Self-defense is a homicide defense that argues the actions of the defendant were made with reasonable force while facing a real threat of death or bodily harm.
- Mental insanity – An insanity defense to charges of first degree murder is intended for defendants whose mental illness prevent them from knowing that their actions were wrong. Invoking this defense requires an in depth understanding of the legal systems definition of mental impairment as it pertains to criminal liability.
As your criminal defense attorney, we will raise questions about law enforcement’s handling of your case and present evidence that supports your innocence.
Our Charlotte criminal defense attorneys will protect your legal rights throughout the entire legal process by ensuring that you are questioned appropriately and protected from abuse or police brutality.
A murder case is rarely simple, and the context of the crime can impact how a jury evaluates it. When you retain the services of our Charlotte NC criminal defense lawyer, you can rest assured that we will do all that we can to fight for you and your best interests. From filing the necessary motions and paperwork with the court to requesting any potential evidence that law enforcement may be planning to use against you, we use over 20 years of criminal defense practice to devise a strategic plan of action for your case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Homicide and Murder Charges
WHAT MISTAKES SHOULD I AVOID AFTER ARREST?
Some criminal defendants make it far too easy for the state to convict them of a crime. There are certain things you should not do when the police come knocking at your door:
Don’t consent to a search of your property. The police are probably looking for evidence to link you to the murder. The police might want to search your home, car, or phone. You should politely decline. Instead, make them get a search warrant from a judge by showing probable cause.
Never answer their questions. You are not required to answer any questions asked by the police before or after arrest. Always decline. If you’re handcuffed, then tell the police you want to talk with a lawyer instead.
IS NORTH CAROLINA A STAND YOUR GROUND STATE?
Yes. Historically, people had to retreat if that was possible before engaging in self-defense. So if someone broke into your home, you were legally required to run out the back door if you could. so safely. The Stand Your Ground law eliminated any duty to retreat before using deadly force in your home.
Stand Your Ground laws are often misunderstood. The law certainly doesn’t let you immediately use deadly force unless it is reasonably necessary to do so. Let a lawyer review whether you can raise self-defense.
CAN I BE CHARGED IF THERE WERE NO WITNESSES TO THE CRIME?
Yes. There is a misconception that you can’t be convicted solely based on “circumstantial” evidence. But some of the most powerful evidence is circumstantial. For example, your DNA could be found on the knife used to stab someone. The victim’s DNA might also be on the clothes you have in your hamper. That evidence is circumstantial because a juror needs to make an inference that your DNA is on the knife because you used it to stab the victim. There might be an innocent explanation, but it’s hard to think of one.
Some of the most powerful evidence consists of blood and hair samples, DNA, video evidence, and fingerprints on a murder weapon. You might even be convicted if someone saw that you were the last person with a victim who ended up dead.
WILL I GET THE DEATH PENALTY IF I AM CONVICTED OF MURDER?
North Carolina still has capital punishment, although no one has been executed since 2006. The death penalty is a possible sentence for first-degree murder when there are certain aggravating factors. Your choice of attorney matters a great deal in murder cases because we can make arguments that you deserve a lenient sentence.
SHOULD I ACCEPT A PLEA DEAL FOR A HOMICIDE CASE?
Prosecutors routinely use plea deals to clear cases from their docket. However, they are slightly less likely in homicide cases due to the high-profile nature of the crime. When it comes to lesser offenses like DUI or assault, the public is not paying attention. Thousands of people are hurt in bar brawls each year, and few make the news. By contrast, the news media is certainly paying attention to murder cases. And the public might get angry if a defendant is offered a plea deal.
Still, it’s possible to negotiate a plea, depending on the facts of your case. Sometimes the state seeks a plea when their evidence isn’t airtight and they fear a loss in trial. You should discuss any plea deal with your attorney.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE POLICE WON’T EVEN TALK TO MY ALIBI WITNESS?
Tell your lawyer. Our law firm doesn’t wait around for the police to overturn every rock and find exculpatory evidence. Instead, we regularly look for other evidence that can show you are not guilty.
An alibi witness is someone who can place you somewhere else when the crime was committed. You might have been with your girlfriend in a different city or eating at a restaurant when the crime was committed. Ideally, you will also have supporting documents or other evidence, like a credit card receipt showing you were at the restaurant.
CAN I BE CHARGED WITH MURDER IF I WAS JUST AT THE SCENE BUT DIDN’T KILL ANYONE?
You can’t face criminal charges for simply observing a crime, but you could be charged for acting in concert with the defendant. This often happens in felony murders. You and someone else break into a home with the intent to rob them. During the robbery, a violent struggle ensues, and your partner ends up killing the homeowner. You could face murder charges for acting in concert.
You can also face criminal charges for being an accessory before or after the fact. For example, you might have hidden a murder so the police didn’t find it. If you were involved in any way, please reach out to an attorney. You could face serious criminal charges.
MONEY IS TIGHT—SHOULD I ACCEPT THE OFFER OF A PUBLIC DEFENDER?
You are better off hiring your own attorney. Public defenders typically juggle hundreds of cases at one time. It’s not possible for them to give each case the type of individualized attention we can at Snow Legal Group. With so much on the line, you need someone who is dedicated to your case and can find evidence to help you beat the charges. Contact us to discuss how we charge clients. We do everything possible to make our services affordable for our clients.
SHOULD I TAKE A POLYGRAPH TEST?
No. For one thing, polygraphs are not admissible in North Carolina courts. Nobody can introduce them as evidence at your trial. However, the state might use a polygraph to make a charging decision. For example, they might be unsure if you really participated in a crime, so they ask you to take a polygraph. If you “fail” the test, then you might get charged.
You also don’t want to answer any questions during the test. Any answer could show up later at trial.
SHOULD I TESTIFY IN MY MURDER CASE?
Ultimately, this is the defendant’s choice. There are good reasons to avoid testifying, if possible. You never know if the prosecution will trip you up and get you to admit critical facts.
Why Choose The Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyers at Snow Legal?
As a seasoned North Carolina criminal defense law firm who has handled hundreds of cases throughout North Carolina, Snow Legal understands that arrest does not equate to a conviction. We have dedicated criminal defense attorneys who can represent you on any criminal charges that may be brought against you. Always remember that in the United States and the state of North Carolina, you are innocent until proven guilty — that is your constitutional right. With strategic preparation, intimate knowledge of the legal process, and aggressive courtroom defense, we can help to protect what matters most to you.Not all criminal defense attorneys are created equally. If you or a loved one is facing a murder charge in Charlotte or Mecklenburg County, contact our law firm today to ensure that a knowledgable criminal defense attorney is working on your defense.
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