At Patituce & Associates, LLC, our Columbus criminal defense lawyers defend clients against the most serious offenses, including murder. These crimes carry the most severe penalties our government is allowed to impose. If you’re facing murder or homicide charges, it is critical to your defense and well-being that you seek immediate advice from a skilled Columbus homicide lawyer. Contact our Columbus homicide defense lawyers to begin building a strong defense today.
How Our Columbus Homicide Defense Lawyers Can Help
When your life and freedom are at stake, it’s vital that you have an experienced lawyer on your side. Our Columbus murder defense lawyers can assist you by:
- Thoroughly investigating the facts of the case, including viewing the crime scene, speaking with witnesses, and reviewing the coroner’s report
- Using private investigators, as necessary, to identify flaws in the government’s story
- Gathering evidence to establish your defense
- Ensuring you understand your legal rights and know how to protect them
- Handling any police interrogation or lineup
Types of Murder Cases Our Lawyers Handle
Our Columbus homicide defense lawyers are equipped to handle any type of homicide case, including:
Murder (O.R.C. 2903.02)
The definition of murder in Ohio is when someone does either of the following:
- Purposefully caused the death of another
- Proximately caused the death of another while committing certain violent crimes
A conviction for murder in Ohio can mean the rest of your life behind bars.
Aggravated Murder (O.R.C. 2903.01)
Aggravated murder is an even more serious charge than murder in Ohio. This offense can be charged if there are aggravating factors, such as when the murder is committed:
- With prior calculation and design
- While the murderer was committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing a violent crime such as rape, terrorism, robbery, burglary, arson, or kidnapping
- When the victim is under 13 years old
- While incarcerated for committing a felony
- When the victim is a law enforcement officer who was actively engaged in their official duties at the time of the murder
- When the victim is a first responder or military member the defendant knows to be such and it is their motivation to kill a first responder or military member
If convicted of this offense, the defendant faces the death penalty or life imprisonment
Voluntary Manslaughter (O.R.C. 2903.03)
Voluntary manslaughter is still murder in the technical sense. It involves the technical killing of another person. However, there are mitigating circumstances that allow the crime to be charged as a lower offense. The defendant must be “under the influence of sudden passion” or “in a sudden fit of rage” that is reasonably sufficient into inciting them to use deadly force. This offense is considered a first-degree felony in Ohio, resulting in a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and fines up to $20,000.
Involuntary Manslaughter (O.R.C. 2903.04)
Involuntary manslaughter does not involve any intent to cause a person’s death but someone dies nonetheless. This crime is charged when the defendant was committing a felony, misdemeanor, regulatory offense, or a minor misdemeanor. The specific facts can greatly affect the potential sentence a defendant can face. For example, if the defendant was committing a felony when the death occurred, the crime can be charged as a first-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of ten years. However, if the death occurred while the defendant was committing a misdemeanor, the sentence can range from one to five years in prison. The term of imprisonment is in addition to any fines the court imposes.
Reckless Homicide (O.R.C. 2903.041)
Reckless homicide charges arise when the prosecution believes the defendant showed a careless disregard for the life and safety of others and someone died as a result of these actions. Recklessness is any conduct that a reasonable person would understand to carry a significant risk of injury or death to another. This offense is a third-degree felony in Ohio, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Negligent Homicide (O.R.C. 2903.05)
Negligent homicide occurs when someone causes the death of another person without intent with a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance. For example, this offense can be charged when someone accidentally kills another person while hunting. This offense is considered a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio, with a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Vehicular Homicide and Manslaughter (O.R.C. 2903.06)
Ohio has three separate charges for vehicular homicide that are described in the statute. All of these offenses require that some type of vehicle was involved and someone died while the defendant was in control of that vehicle.
Vehicular homicide alleges that the defendant operated their vehicle negligently or was speeding in a construction zone, resulting in the victim’s death. This offense is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, which can result in a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Additionally, the defendant’s driving privileges can be suspended for one to five years. In some circumstances, vehicular homicide can be charged as a fourth-degree felony, which carries a maximum 18-month sentence.
If the defendant was committing a minor misdemeanor traffic offense, they can be charged with vehicular manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 90 days and a license suspension of up to three years. In some circumstances, vehicular manslaughter can result in a six-month sentence.
Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (O.R.C. 2903.06)
Aggravated vehicular homicide is the most serious form of vehicular homicide. This offense is charged when the defendant allegedly:
- Was drunk or intoxicated by drugs
- Operated the vehicle recklessly
- Recklessly operated the vehicle in a construction zone
Aggravated vehicular homicide can be charged up to a first-degree felony, depending on the circumstances, which can result in a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and fines up to $20,000.
If vehicular homicide is charged as a third-degree felony, the potential sentence is one to five years, with a license suspension anywhere from three years to life. A second-degree felony charge can result in a sentence of two to eight years and a lifetime suspension of driving privileges.
Contact Our Columbus Murder Defense Lawyers for a Confidential Consultation
Serious charges require a serious defense. Contact Patituce & Associates, LLC for a free and confidential consultation regarding your case.