Homicide occurs when one person kills another. Homicide charges can be filed in cases of intentional, unintentional and justified killings. Different societies treat homicide in different ways. Some treat it as a crime while others consider it legitimate or even necessary in some situations, such as self-defense.
The severity of a homicide/murder charge depends on many factors, including the defendant’s mental state and intent. In some states, murder charges can be reduced to manslaughter if there is a lack of malice and premeditation. There are also lesser degrees of homicide, such as involuntary manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person kills another person through criminal negligence or a crime of passion. Similarly, vehicular homicide occurs when a person kills someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, violating traffic laws, or engaging in another dangerous and severe felony.
Murder is the most serious of homicide crimes, and it involves killing a person with malice aforethought or a depraved indifference to human life. If the victim is killed in the course of another more serious felony such as arson, burglary, robbery or sodomy, the murder may be charged as second-degree murder. A third degree of homicide is aggravated murder, which occurs when the defendant kills another person with a deadly weapon or in the commission of a sexual assault.
There are also some circumstances under which a homicide can be considered “justified.” This is when the killing of a person is legal and justifiable, such as in self-defense or when it is part of a war.
There are also some cases where a homicide can be considered a war crime, such as when a soldier or police officer is killed in the line of duty in accordance with a state’s laws and regulations on the use of force during wartime. This is often seen as a controversial issue and has drawn criticism in the past from those who see it as a violation of the civil rights of the victims, the soldiers or police officers. The death of Rogel Aguilera-Mederos in 2014, when his truck brakes failed and he plowed into four people, was also a controversial homicide. He was given a 110-year prison sentence that eventually was commuted after public outcry. Regardless of the situation, if you are facing a homicide/murder charge, it is important to seek experienced counsel as soon as possible. A good attorney can help you fight for a fair and just result in your case.