Washington DC Homicide Lawyer
When facing a Homicide charge in the District of Columbia, a skilled Washington DC homicide attorney can help guide you throughout the complexities of the legal system. Here is some basic information you should know as you begin your defense.
In Washington DC, a person is guilty of first degree murder when he or she specifically intends to kill another purposely with premeditation and deliberation, or kills while in the process of committing a felony. An individual is guilty of second degree murder if he or she has the required mental state before the killing, but the crime was not premeditated. In Washington DC, the punishment for first degree murder is a mandatory minimum 30-year prison term and can be up to life imprisonment without release. For further information on homicide charges, contact an attorney as soon as possible.
“Malice” in Washington DC is defined as an act done with either an intent to kill, intent to commit great bodily harm, or intent to create a very high risk of death or great bodily harm with the knowledge that death or great bodily harm is the probable result. Malice in the context of murder exists only when an unlawful homicide has been committed with the intention to unlawfully take away the life of a fellow human being, or with awareness of the danger and a conscious disregard for life.
In Washington DC, the distinction between first degree and second degree murder is that first degree murder requires premeditation, while second degree murder requires only proof of malice after the thought.
Malice also distinguishes murder from manslaughter in Washington DC. When someone acts upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion on sufficient provocation, or kills in the unreasonable, but good faith belief that deadly force is necessary in self-defense, then murder can be reduced to voluntary manslaughter.
For a greater explanation of these laws you can read the District of Columbia Official Code.