Over the years, we at Patituce & Associates have had the honor of defending several individuals charged with homicide, murder, and manslaughter. These crimes, as most people know, carry with them the possibility of the most severe penalties our government can impose upon someone. It is important that if you or a loved one have been, or are about to be, arrested for murder that you seek immediate advice from an attorney.
Homicide defense is about more than just showing up for trial. We actually investigate the facts.
In each case where a client of ours is charged with homicide, our criminal defense lawyers actually take the time to investigate the set of facts that the government (the prosecutor) say constitute a homicide. If necessary, we employ the use of a private detective, or investigator, to track down flaws in the government's story. We interview witnesses, view the crime scene, evaluate the coroner's report, and evaluate any expert's reports.
It is incredibly important that you do NOT speak with the police until you have spoken with an attorney.
Many clients, across all of our practice areas, share this mistake-and it is okay. Most people believe the police actually want to give them the chance to avoid charges. Let us be clear: If you are being investigated for murder, the police want to do one thing and one thing only: they want to find the evidence that proves you committed this crime. Even if you did not do this, you are going to be going into a conversation on unequal footing. The police are trained interrogators and in most cases you are not. Invoke your right to an attorney immediately.
If you or a loved one is being investigated or has been arrested for a murder, contact us immediately - day or night. The first few hours after an individual is arrested can make all of the difference in the world. Advise the police that you intend to seek legal representation and immediately call a Cleveland criminal defense lawyer. Our client-centered approach makes us highly effective attorneys who challenge the evidence, question the authorities, and fight for you.
Our clients know when facing these serious cases that we will not cave to the demands of the government. We will fight for our clients as long as we can. We understand that losing at this level has serious consequences for our clients and giving in to the demands of the government can be just as bad. When your life is at stake, you should contact defense attorneys who are going to aggressively fight for you and take it back to prosecutors.
Murder, Homicide or Manslaughter Cases We Handle
Negligent homicide is charged when a person accidentally kills another with the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordinance. It is often levied in the case of a hunting accident. However, any case where a person accidentally causes a death using a dangerous implement may fall under the umbrella of negligent homicide. Because of the lack of intent and the negligent, rather than reckless or purposeful circumstances, this charge is prosecuted as a first degree misdemeanor. Conviction may mean up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Negligent homicide cases tend to be extremely emotional as the victim and defendant often knew each other or were even related. If you have been charged with negligent homicide in Cleveland, you should work with experienced attorneys who will protect your rights while remaining sensitive to the issues involved.
Reckless homicide is charged when prosecutors believe they can show that you engaged in reckless behavior that caused the death of another-or the termination of another's pregnancy. Recklessness is a legal concept that describes conduct which a reasonable person would understand to carry a significant risk of injury or death to another. Reckless homicide is a third degree felony in Cleveland and carries a sentence of up to 5 years and $10,000 in fines if convicted. While reckless homicide is a charge that doesn't indicate intent or malice, you will be left with a felony homicide record if convicted-aside from the punitive sanctions involved.
Without question, murder is one of the most serious charges anyone can face. If convicted of murder, you face a future in prison, perhaps for the rest of your life. There are two ways you can be charged with murder in Cleveland. In the first, you are alleged to have purposely caused the death of another. In the second, you are alleged to have caused the death of another as a proximate result of committing certain violent crimes.
Aggravated murder can also be charged when the evidence shows that a murder was committed purposely and with prior calculation and design. In cases where a victim is purposely killed while the defendant was committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing a crime like rape, kidnapping, arson, robbery, burglary, or trespass, aggravated murder can be charged. If the victim is a child under the age of 13, or a law enforcement officer engaged in official duties, then aggravated murder will also be charged.
Ohio law recognizes that unlawful deaths can occur in circumstances that don't rise to the level of murder. One of the most dangerous charges in that category is voluntary manslaughter, which alleges that you knowingly caused the death of another person while in a sudden passion or fit of rage, brought on by a serious provocation by the victim that incited you to use deadly force. Voluntary manslaughter is a first degree felony in Cleveland, and if you're convicted, you'll spend between 3 and 10 years in prison and face fines of up to $20,000.
Involuntary manslaughter is when someone causes the death of another person while in the commission of a misdemeanor or a felony, but where there was no intent to cause the death. The facts in such a homicide case matter significantly in determining potential sentences. If you were committing a felony when the death occurred, you will face a first degree felony charge that carries a sentence as long as 10 years. Involuntary manslaughter during the commission of a misdemeanor may be charged as a third degree felony, depending on case specifics. If convicted of a third degree offense, you face 1-5 years in prison with heavy fines.
O.R.C. 2903.06 includes three distinct charges, but all indicate that a vehicle of some sort (automobile, boat, even airplanes) caused another person's death while under the control of the charged person.
Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be charged with a third or second degree felony-with certain factors allowing it to be elevated to a first degree felony. The minimum sentence if convicted of a third degree felony will be one to five years, with a license suspension of three years to life; for a second degree charge, the minimum sentence will be two to eight years, with a lifetime suspension of your driver's license.
Vehicular homicide, meanwhile, alleges that you operated a vehicle negligently-or that you were speeding in a construction zone and caused another person's death. This is a first degree misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of up to six months in jail and a suspended license for one to five years. Certain factors can elevate vehicular homicide to a fourth degree felony, carrying a sentence as long as 18 months.
When prosecutors believe they can prove you caused death while committing a minor misdemeanor traffic offense, you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. This is a second degree misdemeanor and can lead to a sentence of 90 days and a license suspension of up to three years. In certain circumstances, you can be charged with vehicular manslaughter as a first degree misdemeanor, which can result in a six month sentence and a longer suspension of your license. Obviously, these are tragic circumstances regardless of the charges you're facing. Accidents happen, and not every case is a matter that deserves prosecution.
The process of hiring the right lawyer is an important one; in fact hiring a lawyer who lacks the experience, drive, and dedication necessary to protect you can lead to disastrous results. This is incredibly true in cases involving crimes such as aggravated murder, murder, and homicides. A conviction upon a charge of aggravated murder can result in you going to prison for the rest of your life or the loss of your life through a capital charge.
At Patituce & Associates, we are a team comprised of former prosecutors. If you are ready to talk to an experienced criminal lawyer about your case, call us for your consultation. We are Cleveland defense lawyers handling cases ranging from murder to drug crimes. We treat all of our clients with the respect you deserve, and we are ready to help you protect your legal rights. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you!
Whether you have been charged with murder or manslaughter, you can get the skilled defense that you need from Patituce & Associates. Call (440) 709-8088 for your free case review.