Homicide is an indictable crime (felony) in the state of New Jersey. If you have been accused of killing someone, whether it was intentional or not, it is important to seek legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and craft the best possible defense.
In New Jersey, a murder is defined as purposefully causing the death of someone or purposefully causing injury that results in death. Murder is a first degree charge that carries the strictest penalties possible, including life imprisonment. A murder conviction has a mandatory minimum sentence of thirty years, with a maximum penalty of a life sentence. The punishment is typically more severe in the case of aggravating circumstances.
A murder conviction requires proving that there was an intention to kill or cause serious injury that results in death. If there was no intention to kill someone and the death was the result of other factors, you cannot be found guilty of murder. Your charges can be dismissed if you were acting in self-defense or if you acted because you were provoked.
If your actions result in the death of someone, but the death was not your intention, you may be charged with manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is sometimes called "imperfect self-defense" as you may have been threatened and defended yourself against an unreasonable fear.
Voluntary manslaughter, meanwhile, is usually referred to as a "crime of passion," as you may have intended in that moment to kill someone or cause serious bodily injury, but the death was not planned or premeditated. Voluntary manslaughter is a lesser murder charge that requires proving two things:
Vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter, is charged if someone kills another person due to poor driving, error or inattention while driving. There are many situations that can lead to a vehicular homicide charge in New Jersey, including getting behind the wheel while sleepy, falling asleep, and causing an accident that results in a death.
Vehicular manslaughter is typically a second degree crime with a potential penalty of 5-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. This crime may also result in a civil lawsuit brought by the victim's family.
Any homicide charge including manslaughter, murder, and vehicular homicide, are among the most serious offenses in New Jersey. If you have been charged with homicide, protect your rights and defend yourself by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call defense attorney, Mark Bernstein today!