Facing homicide charges means you are potentially facing a lifetime in prison if you are convicted. If you or someone you care about has been arrested on homicide charges, it is crucial to obtain skilled legal representation—there are viable defenses to this charge! Get in touch with the experienced attorneys at Sarofiem & Antoun, LLC today to discuss how we can help you defend your rights and navigate the criminal justice system.
What is New Jersey Homicide?
The term homicide is defined as the unlawful and intentional killing of another person. Homicide is a general term that is split up into different categories under New Jersey Law.
These three categories include Murder, Manslaughter, and Death by Auto. Understanding the differences between these categories is very important as the penalties and consequences are different depending on which type of homicide that is charged.
- Murder: the crime of murder is covered by the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (N.J.S.) Section 2C:11-3. To prove a murder charge, it must be shown that:
- Someone died
- The defendant’s actions caused the death, or serious injuries that resulted in death
- The defendant acted purposefully or knowingly
New Jersey murder is split up into different types including:
- Purposeful: A person can be found guilty of murder if that person commits an act that purposely caused the death, or serious injury that resulted in death, of another person.
- Knowing: A person can be convicted of murder if that person knowingly committed an act that caused the death, or serious injury that resulted in death, of another person.
- While committing, or attempting to commit certain felonies: This type of murder is often called felony murder. A person can be convicted of murder if while in the course of committing or attempting to commit specific felonies, another person dies. Some of these felonies include “robbery, sexual assault, arson, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking, criminal escape, or terrorism.”
The consequences for a murder conviction are very severe. In New Jersey, a murder conviction carries a minimum sentence of 30 years. However, the sentence can be longer, and up to life in prison.
- Manslaughter: Another category of homicide, manslaughter occurs when a person is killed, but the killing is not done purposely or knowingly as it is with murder.
Like murder, manslaughter (N.J.S. 2C:11-4) also has different categories including:
- Aggravated Manslaughter: A person can be convicted of aggravated manslaughter if they acted recklessly, with “extreme indifference to human life,” and caused the death of another person. Also, if a person kills another while fleeing the police, it is also considered aggravated manslaughter.
- Manslaughter: Regular or non-aggravated manslaughter occurs when a person acts recklessly, but not to the level of “extreme indifference to human life,” and another is killed.
- Heat of passion: Another type of manslaughter occurs when a person kills another in the heat of passion. In this situation, a killing that would ordinarily be considered murder is instead charged as manslaughter if there was “reasonable provocation” by the victim and the killing was done in the heat of passion.
The consequences of a manslaughter conviction are very serious. Depending on the circumstances, and whether the crime was aggravated, non-aggravated, or committed in the heat of passion, sentences can range anywhere from 5 to 30 years in prison and include hefty fines. However, the sentences vary greatly depending on the facts of the case.
- Death by Auto: The third type of homicide under New Jersey law is death by auto. Under N.J.S. 2C:11-5, a person can be convicted of death by auto, also called vehicular homicide, when death is “caused by driving a vehicle…recklessly.”
A conviction for New Jersey Death by Auto means the driver was driving recklessly— much worse than the negligence that is found in most car accident cases. There are certain actions that can lead to an inference that a driver was driving recklessly–some of these actions include:
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drowsy driving
- Texting or using the phone while driving
The consequences for a conviction of death by auto vary greatly depending on why the driver was driving recklessly. However, this conviction can still result in serious consequences such as imprisonment, fines, and revocation of driving privileges.
How a Skilled New Jersey Homicide Defense Attorney Can Help
Facing criminal charges on your own can be terrifying, especially if the charges are as serious as a homicide charge. Even an accusation of homicide can have a devastating impact on your life. This is why having an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney is so important. The knowledgeable attorneys at Sarofiem & Antoun, LLC can help you navigate your criminal case from the very start. Our attorneys can look at the details and facts of your case to determine available defenses. Potential New Jersey homicide defenses include:
- Mistaken Identity
- Self defense/defense of others
- Intoxication (to show that the act was not purposeful)
- Negligence (showing an act was negligent, not reckless)
A skilled attorney will also look into any mitigating factors in your case. Remember that no matter the severity of the charges you are facing, you have a right to remain silent, a right to an attorney, and a right to defend yourself–you are innocent until proven guilty.
If you or a loved one is facing serious homicide charges, reach out to our office today by calling 201-792-3333. We are available anytime, day or night, by phone or text. We can discuss your case during a free, totally confidential consultation–we can go over your charges, answer your questions, and help you understand the next steps in defending your case. Do not hesitate, contact us today!