Murder is one of the most serious crimes a person can be charged with. Convictions frequently lead to decades or even a lifetime of incarceration, sometimes without the possibility of parole – and in Utah, certain homicide convictions can even lead to a death sentence. At best, you are facing the possibility of enormous fines and a long term in prison. At worst, you could lose your right to life itself.
When you are facing homicide allegations, everything you value is on the line. It is extremely important that you have the guidance, counsel, and dedicated support of a defense attorney with extensive experience handling the charges you are facing now. For a completely free and confidential legal consultation, call Ogden murder defense attorney Darwin Overson of Overson Law, PLLC right away at (801) 758-2287.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Ogden Homicide Defense Lawyers
Homicide has the potential to be treated as a capital offense in Ogden and throughout the state of Utah. But even in cases where the death penalty is not being sought, the legal repercussions of a conviction can be extremely severe, including thousands in fines and years in prison.
Furthermore, the negative impact of these cases seldom truly ends with the formal penalties imposed by the courts. Even after an offender completes their sentence, they remain burdened with a felony criminal record, which can continue to cause employment problems for years to come. These employment issues can in turn lead to financial difficulties, trapping the offender in a world of hardship and limited opportunities from which it can be virtually impossible to escape.
Fortunately, you do not have to face this challenge alone. Darwin Overson is equipped with more than 15 years of practical experience representing defendants who have been charged with murder, aggravated murder, and manslaughter in Utah. He has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers, and has worked with thousands of clients over his many years practicing criminal defense. When you need a committed and aggressive Utah attorney on your side, call Darwin Overson.
Different Types of Homicide Charges in Ogden
Not all charges for murder will look the same. Criminal charges that involve the killing of another person are all classified as “criminal homicide.” Some criminal homicides are intentional and the defendant is accused of actually wanting to kill the victim. Other criminal homicides are more accidental and the defendant did not mean to cause anyone harm. There are seven different types of homicide charges which can apply to Ogden residents under the Utah State Legislature (§ 76-5-201)…
- Aggravated Murder
- Child Abuse Homicide
- Homicide by Assault
- Negligent Homicide
- Automobile Homicide (often called vehicular homicide)
These charges for different types of criminal homicide carry different penalties. Most carry very serious penalties, as the death of another person is always an extremely serious event. However, they have varying levels of criminal culpability. Criminal culpability is like the intent of the defendant when they allegedly committed the crime. Some of these offenses require the purposeful intent of the defendant, making them more heinous in the eyes of the courts and jurors. Others require a lower level of intent, such as recklessness or negligence, and may be treated with a bit more understanding.
No matter what your charges are, criminal homicide is no joke. Any one of the offenses named above could lead to severe punishments. Call our Ogden murder defense lawyers today for help fighting your charges.
Murder: Definitions and Penalties in Ogden
Murder is considered by many to be the most severe criminal offense a person can be charged with. It is so severe that many jurisdictions, including Utah, may impose a life sentence if a defendant is convicted. A person can be charged with murder in Utah when they cause someone else’s death…
- Knowingly or intentionally,
- By committing an obviously dangerous act to human life with the intention of causing serious physical injury,
- By knowingly doing something that creates a “serious risk of death,” while also demonstrating a depraved indifference to human life, or
- While committing, attempting to commit, or fleeing from the commission of another crime.
Criminal homicide can also be charged as murder if the person:
- Has aggravated murder charges which are reduced, or
- Recklessly causes the death of a uniformed peace officer or military service member while trying to commit assault or interfering with an arrest.
Under § 76-5-203 of the Utah Criminal Code, murder is a first degree felony. A person who is convicted of murder shall be sentenced to imprisonment for an indeterminate term of at least 15 years, but could be as long as life in prison. As a first-degree felony, a maximum fine of $10,000 may also be imposed. Speak to our Ogden murder defense lawyers about your case in a free legal consultation today.
Aggravated Murder in Ogden
Aggravated murder is similar to ordinary murder charges, except the facts and circumstances surrounding the case are especially bad. There are numerous circumstances which can elevate charges to the aggravated level. Under § 76-5-202, these circumstances include but are not limited to committing homicide:
- While incarcerated in a jail or a correctional institution,
- Which creates significant risk of death to someone besides the victim and the defendant,
- Committed for purposes of financial gain, or
- For purposes of avoiding or preventing an arrest.
Aggravated murder is a first-degree felony. Depending on whether the prosecutor files notice of intent to seek the death penalty, these charges can be further classified as either:
- Capital: Death penalty sought.
- Non-capital: No death penalty sought. Life in prison without parole, or 25 years to life.
Aggravated murder charges are about as serious as it gets under the Utah Criminal Code. No other offense is punished quite as harshly as aggravated murder. To fight these charges, you need an experienced and skilled lawyer by your side. Call our Ogden murder defense attorneys right away for help with your case.
Manslaughter Charges in Ogden, UT
Manslaughter is a form of criminal homicide that has a lesser standard of culpability than murder or aggravated murder. Manslaughter can be charged when a person:
- Recklessly causes the death of someone else,
- Helps another person commit suicide, or
- Commits murder, but the charges are reduced.
Manslaughter is a second-degree felony under § 76-5-205, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. This offense has a lower standard of culpability that requires the defendant to act recklessly rather than intentionally. Recklessness, under Utah law, is when a person is aware that their actions create a very significant risk of harm and they choose to act anyway. The defendant does not necessarily intend for the harm to happen, but their actions in the face of such a great risk are considered a gross deviation from the caution expected of an ordinary person.
Other Forms of Criminal Homicide in Ogden
While the forms f criminal homicide mentioned in detail above tend to get the most attention, there are numerous other forms of criminal homicide that also carry very harsh penalties.
Child Abuse Homicide
This is a particularly unfortunate form of criminal homicide in which the victim is a child. The victim’s death must have occurred under circumstances that constitute child abuse, but do not rise to the level of aggravated murder.
This crime may be charged as a first-degree felony if the defendant is found to have acted recklessly. However, the defendant will be charged with a second-degree felony if they are found to have acted negligently, which is a lower form of culpability. Speak to our Ogden murder defense attorneys if you are facing these charges.
Homicide by Assault
Homicide by assault is exactly what it sounds like. This offense involves the defendant killing another person while either intentionally or knowingly attempting to cause bodily injury. The defendant must have been using some form of unlawful force and their actions must not rise to the level of aggravated murder.
Homicide by assault can be charged as a third-degree felony. Such a felony may be punished by a prison term no longer than 5 years.
Negligent homicide requires the lowest level of criminal culpability and is therefore subjected to more lenient penalties. Negligent homicide may be charged in any situation in which the defendant caused someone else’s death while acting with criminal negligence.
Criminal negligence is very similar to recklessness because both levels of culpability require the defendant to act in the face of a significant and unjustifiable risk. However, criminal negligence is different because the defendant is not aware of the risk. Their actions are considered criminal because an ordinary person would be aware of such a great risk and make attempts to avoid it.
Negligent homicide is considered a class A misdemeanor, only one step below a felony charge. A class A misdemeanor comes with penalties, including a jail term of no more than 364 days.
This offense is sometimes referred to as vehicular homicide and occurs when the defendant causes another’s death while driving a vehicle. The defendant must have been operating their vehicle in a negligent manner and…
- Had a BAC of at least .05 at the time of subsequent chemical testing,
- Was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol to the extent that they could not safely operate a vehicle, or
- Had a BAC of .05 at the time they were driving.
Automobile homicide may be charged as a third-degree felony or a second-degree felony based on the circumstances of the incident. Speak to our Ogden murder defense lawyers about your charges as soon as possible.
Arrange for a Legal Consultation with Our Ogden Murder Defense Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been charged with any form of criminal homicide in Ogden, Weber County, or elsewhere in Utah, call Ogden murder defense lawyer Darwin Overson at Overson Law, PLLC right away at (801) 758-2287 to set up a free and confidential case evaluation. You can also contact us online.