Being charged with a crime is one of the scariest situations someone can be in. When that crime is a high-level felony, like Murder, the stakes become high, and the consequences become severe. What should someone do when they are charged with Murder? In this blog we will discuss it. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
What does it mean to be charged with Murder?
In North Carolina, Murder is a homicide crime. In general, homicide is the unlawful killing of another human being. Murder (first-degree) is the highest level of that crime, and the highest level of any state crime. For the purposes of this blog all references to murder will assumed to be referring to first-degree murder.
*Please note there are other homicide crimes besides murder. Not all homicides are murders but all murders are homicide crimes.
The consequences of being charged with Murder
In North Carolina when someone is charged with Murder , they are being accused of a felony, and if convicted they will be sentenced according to the North Carolina Sentencing Guidelines.
First-degree murder is a Class A felony and conviction of first-degree murder requires either death sentence, or life in prison without the possibility of parole. This is the most severe penalty you can get for ANY crime.
Defense when charged with Murder
When charged with Murder, the defendant should seek immediate legal representation. Like all other criminal cases there is only three ways this can end; a dismissal, a guilty plea, or a trial. When defending someone charged with Murder, the defense attorney must focus on the allegations and facts that are present in the discovery.
For the government to obtain a conviction every element of the crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Murder cases are very intense and take a long time to resolve. The amount of discovery in murder cases is usually voluminous and detailed.
There are many important considerations when determining a strategy for a defense of a murder charge including and not limited to:
- The circumstances in which the victim died,
- The physical evidence obtained by law enforcement including fingerprints, DNA, and other forensic evidence,
- The witnesses to the alleged crime, and what they had to say,
- The statements and admissions made by the defendant.
Like all criminal matters, the defendant has the presumption of innocence and he is innocent until proven guilty.