Southwest Washington Homicide Lawyer
A charge of intentional murder represents the most serious allegation a person can face under Washington law. A person facing such a charge deserves an advocate in their corner with the experience and the tenacity to uphold the rights of the accused. Lesser charges of manslaughter can also bring lengthy prison sentences. The police in such cases do not always approach the investigations with the level of thoroughness that we would hope. Additionally, the detectives in such cases sometimes bring an investigatory bias that leads to a failure to consider other suspects.
First Degree Murder
Murder in the First Degree is a Class A Felony under Washington law and brings a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $50,000 fine. First Degree Murder is most often thought of as an intentional killing done with premeditation. However, premeditation is not the only way in which this offense is defined. Other ways the charge arises is with the allegations that: 1) The death resulted from extreme indifference on the defendant’s part, or 2) The death occurred when defendant was committing the crime of robbery, rape, burglary, arson, or kidnapping. The standard range sentence for a person convicted of Murder in the First Degree is 20 to 30 years in prison.
Aggravated First Degree Murder
A charge of Murder in the First Degree becomes “aggravated” when there are certain factors alleged. The list of aggravators include: 1) That the victim was a police officer or other official performing his or her duties at the time, 2) That the victim was a newspaper reporter covering the actions of the defendant, 3) That the defendant was imprisoned or incarcerated on a felony at the time of the killing or was on leave, 4) That the defendant acted pursuant to a “murder for hire” agreement, 5) That the defendant acted as part of a gang initiation, 6) That the killing occurred as part of a Drive – By shooting, 7) That the victim was a judge, juror, witness, or attorney exercising his or her duties, 8) That the defendant killed to conceal the commission of another crime, 9) That two or more people were killed as part of a scheme, 10) That the murder took place in the course of the commission of another serious felony, 11) That at the time of the death, the victim had a restraining order against the defendant, or 12) That the offense was a crime of domestic violence, and there was a past history of abuse. A conviction for Aggravated First Degree Murder brings a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Second Degree Murder
Murder in the Second Degree is committed when a person intentionally kills, but does so without any premeditation. This is often a somewhat fine line under the law. Second Degree Murder is also when a person commits a felony, and during the course of the felony, a death occurs. This is often referred to as “felony murder.” For a charge of felony murder, the prosecutor need not prove that the killing was intentional. An example of a felony murder might be when a person is killed in a traffic accident when a suspect is fleeing from the police.
Manslaughter in the First Degree is defined as recklessly killing another person. The offense can also be committed by causing the death of an unborn child when injury is inflicted upon the mother. Manslaughter in the Second Degree is defined as killing another person with criminal negligence. The offense of Manslaughter First Degree brings a standard range sentence of 78 to 102 months in the state penitentiary for a person with no criminal history. Manslaughter in the Second Degree brings a standard range sentence of 21 to 27 months in prison. There are enhancements that also apply if the offense is committed with a firearm or a deadly weapon.
An Aggressive Defense Lawyer is Needed
With such cases as discussed above, a skilled defense lawyer is needed to properly defend against such allegations. When you meet with attorney Erin Bradley McAleer for a free consultation, he will look at the specific charges brought and can properly advise you as to how he can best provide and effective defense. Because of his training and experience, attorney Erin Bradley McAleer can defend people in an innovative and thorough manner. These serious allegations call for a defense attorney that is aggressive and dedicated to your defense. Avoiding convictions is always the goal that Erin Bradley McAleer has for his clients.
The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer will fight to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome in your court case. Call attorney Erin Bradley McAleer today at (360) 334-6277 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Washington Attorney Erin Bradley McAleer represents clients throughout Southwest Washington State, including in Clark County, Cowlitz County, and Skamania County and Vancouver, Battle Ground, Camas, La Center, Ridgefield, Washougal, Woodland, Yacolt, Castle Rock, Kalama, Kelso, Longview, North Bonneville, and Stevenson. Attorney Erin Bradley McAleer focuses on the areas of Criminal Defense, Traffic Infractions, Landlord Tenant, Personal Injury, Firearm Rights Restoration, and Post-Conviction Relief (Vacating & Sealing Criminal Records).