Atlanta Murder Defense Lawyers

Atlanta Murder Defense Lawyers
Photo of murder scene

The most serious crime you could ever be charged with is murder. This is true no matter where you live. When you’ve been accused of killing another human being, you can bet there will be some severe consequences. This is why it’s so important that you hire the experienced Atlanta murder defense lawyers at Howard & Arca.

A murder conviction can carry a life sentence or even death. You don’t want to put your life into the hands of a public defender if you can help it. There’s just too much at stake. A skilled criminal defense attorney in Atlanta can mean the difference between life in prison and freedom.

When you get arrested for murder, there will be a thousand things running through your mind. You have to try to stay calm. Make sure you call and speak with a lawyer right away. Your attorney will need as much time as possible to prepare your case. This starts with your first appearance.

Make sure you are upfront with your Atlanta murder defense lawyer. They need as much information as possible to prepare your defense. You don’t want them to be blindsided down the road.

If you or a loved one is facing a murder charge in Atlanta, call Howard & Arca today! You will receive a risk-free case review with one of our expert criminal defense lawyers. The stakes are far too high to trust a public defender or try and fight the charge by yourself. Your freedom is on the line, put your faith in the best.

How is Murder Defined in Georgia?

In Georgia, murder is defined as the intentional killing of another human being. It’s different from homicide in the sense that it does require intent. It also usually requires planning.

Unlike most other states, Georgia doesn’t have degrees of murder. There are really just two types. Murder and felony-murder. Murder, as defined by the state of Georgia, is a homicide that involves some form of evil intent. Felony murder is when someone is killed during the commission of some other crime.

Crime scene analyst photographing a murder victim

When it comes to murder in Georgia, it’s defined as any killing of another, with malice. Murder doesn’t involve provocation. It’s not self-defense or heat of passion. It’s a planned, intentional act. An example of a murder would be when a wife buys poison online so she can kill her husband.

Felony murder is a bit different. If you’re in the middle of a dangerous felony, such as arson or rape, and someone dies, you can be charged with felony murder. The underlying crime isn’t the important thing. The fact that someone died is what’s so important. Even if the person who dies is your co-conspirator, you can still be charged with felony murder.

An example of felony murder would be when you’re robbing a liquor store and the clerk gets shot. Even though your intent wasn’t to kill the clerk, you should have realized it was a possibility.

When it comes to sentencing, each case is unique. The severity of your punishment will depend on the circumstances of the crime. Some of the things that will be taken into consideration include:

  • Whether you planned the killing
  • The gravity and nature of the event
  • Characteristics of the victim (i.e did you kill a police officer or pregnant woman?)
  • Your criminal history

The penalty for murder is typically life in prison or the death penalty.

What’s the Difference Between Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter?

Murder is the intentional killing of another human being. Manslaughter is the unintentional killing of another human being. The general rule is that manslaughter could’ve been an accident while murder cannot.

There are two types of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary.

Involuntary manslaughter is when you kill someone while doing something legal in an illegal way. For example, if you drive drunk and kill someone, it would be involuntary manslaughter. Basically, you didn’t set out to kill someone. However, someone died as a result of your reckless behavior.

If you’re charged and convicted of involuntary manslaughter, you’ll still be facing severe penalties. People convicted of this offense are typically sentenced to several years in prison. If you are a doctor, nurse, accountant, or any other field that requires a license, not obtaining the best Atlanta professional license defense lawyer may result in you also losing your career.

Voluntary manslaughter is murder with provocation. It is also described as a “heat of passion” crime. Atlanta murder defense lawyers typically see this type of charge when someone acts in self-defense but takes it too far. For example, if someone is robbing you with a knife, you can’t shoot them. If you do, you can be charged with voluntary manslaughter.

For voluntary manslaughter, if you had ample time to cool off after the provocation, it will be considered murder, not manslaughter. This is because the provocation no longer exists.

In order to get your charges reduced to manslaughter, your Atlanta murder defense lawyers will have to prove that you didn’t have the necessary intent or that you were provoked.

Is Georgia a Stand Your Ground State?

Like some other states, Georgia has something called a “Stand Your Ground” defense. This means that, if you’re using self-defense, you have no duty to retreat. In other words, you can stand your ground against your attacker.

About half the states currently have these laws. There are a couple of limitations on the stand your ground rule. First, you can only use the force necessary to defend yourself. And, you actually have to be using self-defense at the time of the attack in order to claim this defense.

Second, you can’t provoke a fight and then ask to use the stand your ground defense. For example, let’s say you go up to someone in a bar and challenge them to a fight. Halfway through the fight, you change your mind. When your opponent continues to beat you up, you pull out a knife and stab them.

Since you were the provoking party here, you can’t claim that you were using self-defense. If the victim, in this case, were to die, you would be charged with murder. You can’t claim that it was self-defense when, if it weren’t for you, the fight never would’ve taken place.

There is a lot of debate about the stand your ground rule. Some people think it gives people too much leeway when it comes to taking the life of another. However, your Atlanta criminal defense lawyer is going to work hard to prove this defense if it applies to your case.

Woman pulling a gun from her purse as a man with a knife approaches from behind

What If I’m Charged with a Murder That I Didn’t Commit?

If you’ve been charged with a murder you didn’t commit, you’re going to be equal parts angry and scared. It’s so frustrating to be charged with a crime you didn’t commit. And, when nobody believes you, it can be maddening.

This is why it’s so important that you retain an experienced murder defense lawyer in Atlanta. They’ll work desperately to get the charges against you either reduced or dismissed. You have to be upfront with your lawyer so they can adequately prepare your case.

Your attorney will meet with the prosecutor and find out what evidence they have against you. They’ll review the discovery and see why the State thinks you committed the crime. Since they have to prove each element of murder, your attorney can challenge them on each step.

For example, the prosecutor has to prove that you did indeed kill the victim. If you had nothing to do with the killing, you’ll have to submit evidence proving this. That may include the following:

  • Alibi evidence showing you were not in the right place at the time of the murder
  • Proof that you couldn’t have committed the murder (such as disability, illness, etc.)
  • You were acting in self-defense

When you meet with your murder defense attorney in Georgia for the first time, let them know what happened. If the prosecutor has potential evidence linking you to the murder, tell your attorney. This way, they can be prepared when the State puts on their case.

Contact the Experienced Atlanta Murder Defense Lawyers at Howard and Arca Today

If you or your loved one have been charged with murder in Georgia, you need to call an experienced homicide defense lawyer in Atlanta with Howard & Arca. There won’t be a lot of time between your arrest and your first appearance.

You don’t want to try to handle this yourself. A lot of people who didn’t commit the crime insist that the truth will come out in the end. Ideally, this is true. However, it’s not always how things work in the real world. Contact Howard & Arca today to mount the best defense possible because assuming the truth will come out often ends with you behind bars for life.

If you’ve been charged with murder, there has to be some reason the prosecutor thinks you did it. They don’t charge people with a serious crime like murder without some kind of proof. Your attorney can try to get this proof so they can prepare your defense.

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