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Homicide is among the most severe charges an individual can face, and its consequences have the potential to change your life forever. In North Carolina, the consequences for murder can result in years of incarceration and be as extreme as the death penalty. If you or a loved one has been accused of murder, you need the skill of a thorough, experienced North Carolina homicide defense lawyer immediately. When you have so much at stake, there’s no time to waste.

Degrees of Homicide in North Carolina

In North Carolina, homicide is broken down into five classifications:

  • First Degree Murder: An intentional, premeditated killing. This also includes killings that take place during the commission of a felony, such as a robbery, rape, or kidnapping, or the attempt to commit a felony.
  • Second Degree Murder: An intentional, reckless killing that was not premeditated, but was committed with malice.
  • Voluntary Manslaughter: An intentional killing that was committed in the heat of passion (in response to provocation or circumstances in which the individual charged was emotionally or mentally disturbed).
  • Involuntary Manslaughter: An unintentional killing committed without intent and not in the heat of passion but caused directly by the actions of the charged person.
  • Vehicular Manslaughter: An unintentional murder committed because of illegal driving, such as speeding, driving while texting, or drunk driving.

Murder Penalties

According to statute 14-18 or the North Carolina General Statutes, first-degree murder is a capital offense. Put differently; if you are found guilty of the crime, you could be given the death penalty. This means your life is on the line. Other penalties per classification are as follows:

  • First Degree Murder: First-degree murder is a Class A felony, carrying the highest criminal penalty in North Carolina. The sentence depends on the facts of the case, but it is punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
  • Second Degree Murder: Can be charged as a Class B1 felony or a Class B2 felony, resulting in a minimum possible punishment 144 months up to life in prison and 94 to 484 months in prison, respectively.
  • Voluntary Manslaughter: Voluntary manslaughter is a Class D felony, punishable by 51 to 204 months in prison. The punishment will depend on several factors. Aggravating factors can add years or additional penalties to a sentence, and mitigating factors can reduce the severity of punishment.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter: A Class F felony. The punishment for this felony class is 13 to 59 months in prison.
  • Vehicular Manslaughter: A Class B2 felony, punishable by a minimum of 94 up to a maximum of 484 months in prison. A defendant may face longer sentences depending on any prior convictions they have accumulated.

Building a Strong Murder Defense

While much of the burden for proof rests on the prosecution in homicide cases, you should have a thorough understanding of the law if you are going to defend yourself against a murder charge. An experienced attorney can help by managing the details of the case and the impact of forensic evidence and witness testimony. Our legal team has the experience to defend you in state and federal court. Our lawyers have prosecuted and defendant multiple homicide cases, including through jury verdicts after trial.Leaving anything to chance in these cases, with such serious allegations and consequences on the line, is unwise. An attorney who will fight on your behalf is an investment in the protection of your rights and, ultimately, your life.

Contact Our Homicide Defense Team Now

If you or a family member been charged with homicide, or are being investigated for a homicide offense, don’t hesitate. We have experienced criminal defense lawyers at Dysart Willis who are board-certified in state and federal criminal charges. We’re ready to help you now to fight for the best possible outcome in your case. We know the seriousness of sentences related to homicide and will do everything in our power to protect your interests. Call us at 919-747-8380 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.