Almost nothing could be more crushing or traumatic than being accused of committing murder. Homicide is the most serious crime of all, and carries devastating criminal penalties — including capital punishment. Even in cases where the death penalty is not a possibility, the massive fines and decades-long prison sentences can change your life forever, destroying your career and depriving you of everything you value.
When the charges are this serious, you simply can’t afford to face the prosecution on your own. It is absolutely critical that you have an experienced attorney on your side to fight the charges, protect your legal rights, and guide you through the Riverton justice system. Murder defense lawyer Darwin Overson has over 15 years of experience handling thousands of cases. We offer free consultations, and will always keep your information private.
You need to address your legal situation as soon as possible. Call attorney Darwin Overson right away at (801) 758-2287 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.
Criminal Homicide Charges Our Defense Attorneys Handle
It’s natural to react with panic and fear after being accused of committing a crime. But while all homicide charges are serious, keep in mind there are many different types of criminal homicide, some of which are more harshly penalized than others. Believe it or not, certain offenses are even categorized as misdemeanors.
As your court date draws nearer, it is very important to have a clear understanding of the specific nature of the allegations against you. The better you understand what you are being accused of committing, the better prepared you will be in your defense.
Our Riverton criminal defense attorneys handle a wide spectrum of homicide charges, including:
- Statute – Utah Criminal Code §76-5-203
- Category – First Degree Felony
- Definition – Intentionally and deliberately causing another person’s death.
- Aggravated Murder
- Statute – Utah Criminal Code §76-5-202
- Category – First Degree, Capital Felony
- Definition – Murder where additional aggravating factors are present, such as committing murder for financial gain, or to avoid being taken into police custody.
- Statute – Utah Criminal Code §76-5-205
- Category – Second Degree Felony
- Definition – Accidentally causing another person’s death through recklessness, or disregard for safety hazards. Manslaughter is also charged in cases where the defendant’s original murder charges are lessened.
- Vehicular Homicide (Automobile Homicide)
- Statute – Utah Criminal Code §76-5-207
- Category – Third, Second Degree Felony
- Definition – Causing death with a motor vehicle while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (i.e. DUI). Motor vehicles include cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, boats, planes, and trains. The charges become more severe as the defendant’s BAC or Blood Alcohol Content increases.
- Negligent Homicide
- Statute – Utah Criminal Code §76-5-206
- Category – Class A Misdemeanor
- Definition – Accidentally causing another person’s death through negligence, or careless lack of foresight.
- Child Abuse Homicide
- Statute – Utah Criminal Code §76-5-208
- Category – Second, First Degree Felony
- Definition – Homicide resulting in the death of a person aged 18 years old (excluding circumstances which would result in aggravated murder charges).
- Homicide by Assault
- Statute — Utah Criminal Code §76-5-209
- Category — Third Degree Felony
- Definition — Accidentally causing death while intentionally committing assault, which is defined as any attempt to commit bodily harm.
The context of the victim’s death, and the defendant’s alleged intentions, play a significant role in determining the charges and penalties. Whether you were acting intentionally, recklessly, or negligently can be the crucial difference between a felony and a misdemeanor.
Utah Homicide Fines, Sentences, and Capital Punishment
While more and more states are banning the death penalty, Utah has yet to abandon its capital punishment legislation. In recent months, Utah’s legislature has been debating whether to reinstate firing squads as an alternative to lethal injection.
However, the use of capital punishment in Utah is extremely rare, with a total of seven executions taking place since the 1970s. Capital punishment is used only in aggravated murder cases, and even then, prosecutors are far more likely to seek life imprisonment than the death penalty.
Even though capital punishment is seldom used, the remaining penalties can be incredibly severe. Depending on how your alleged offense is categorized under state law, you could be facing the following maximum fines and sentences if you are convicted.
For misdemeanor offenses:
- Class A
- Sentence – 1 year, jail
- Restitution – $2,500
For felony offenses:
- Third Degree
- Sentence – 5 years, prison
- Restitution – $5,000
- Second Degree
- Sentence – 15 years, prison
- Restitution – $10,000
- First Degree
- Sentence – Life in prison
- Restitution – $10,000
While the fine remains the same from second to first degree cases, the prison sentence increases dramatically. In non-capital aggravated murder cases, or cases where the prosecutor does not seek the death penalty, the convicted individual may be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
If you were arrested on homicide charges in Riverton, or if one of you loved ones has been placed under arrest, you need to act fast. To start exploring your legal options in a free and private consultation, call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 today.