Michigan 1st and 2nd Degree Murder Attorneys
Homicide is the killing of one person by another. There are a variety of homicide charges used in Michigan, such as First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, and Manslaughter. All homicide charges require a thorough, effective, competent, and aggressive defense team. Here are some facts about the different murder charges in Michigan.
First Degree Murder requires pre-meditation
In other words, a prosecutor must prove that a person thought out the murder beforehand and specifically formulated an intention to kill the victim. First Degree murder is the most serious criminal charge in Michigan law, and is punishable by mandatory life in prison, without possibility of parole. Michigan law does not allow for the death penalty for any charge, including First Degree Murder. However, it is possible in some instances to charge a defendant under the Federal murder statute, which in some cases allows for the death penalty.
Felony Murder is a special class of First Degree Murder
This crime involves the loss of life during the commission of specific felonies. These felonies include Arson, Criminal Sexual Conduct, First Degree Child Abuse, major controlled substance offenses, Robbery, Carjacking, Home Invasion, Larceny, Extortion, and Kidnapping. Michigan law mandates life in prison for any person found guilty of felony murder.
Second Degree Murder is a lesser charge than First Degree Murder
is a lesser charge, however it still carries the potential of severe punishment. In a Second Degree Murder case, the prosecution does not have the obligation to prove that the person thought out the killing beforehand. Second Degree Murder is punishable by life in prison, or any term of years. However, the possibility of parole does exist.
Manslaughter has two categories, voluntary and involuntary.
In all cases, Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another without malice. Voluntary manslaughter involves an intentional killing, but one that is done in the heat of passion. Involuntary Manslaughter is an unintentional killing. Both Voluntary Manslaughter and Involuntary Manslaughter are punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
A successful defense requires a thorough knowledge of the details.
In all cases, your knowledge of the facts is important and must be thoroughly explored with the trial team. Attempts must be made to interview all witnesses. In many cases, we use the services of competent private investigators to interview potential witnesses and develop facts that will be valuable to the defense.
It is not advisable to rely solely on the information contained in police reports to prepare for trial. The Kronzek Firm has numerous affiliations with investigators, many of whom are former police detectives and officers. Their services can be extremely valuable to a client facing a substantial prison term.
Expert witnesses can be a key element of your defense.
While not all cases require the use of experts, there are many circumstances where scientific experts can be invaluable. These may include experts such as DNA scientists, medical doctors, psychologists, document and handwriting analysis experts, fingerprint & “voiceprint” experts, and police investigation experts.
It is not possible to know what experts may be needed until your case is thoroughly evaluated. Our firm is committed to using the best scientific experts available in defense of our clients. In some cases, we are successful in getting money from the trial court to pay for expert fees.
Police investigations must be carefully scrutinized.
In this country’s system of justice, defense attorneys are the ones who make law enforcement personnel play by the rules. In our criminal defense practice, we find it beneficial to our clients to challenge unlawful intrusions on your rights. Our trial team will carefully examine your case for violations of law that can be asserted in your defense.
If You are Facing Homicide Charges
Let’s begin with the understanding that the police are not your friends and they are not there to help you. It is legal to for the police to lie to you. Promises made by the police are not enforceable. Miranda warnings may not help you, so if the police are investigating you, remember these key facts:
1. Don’t negotiate with police without an attorney. In most cases, police will attempt to secure your cooperation before you have a chance to talk to an attorney. They are aware that a person accused of a homicide is never more vulnerable than at the time of an arrest for murder. Before you compromise your position in the case, obtain competent legal advice from an aggressive and savvy trial lawyer.
2. Do not talk. Be polite and courteous, but refuse to discuss their investigation with them. You should plainly and repeatedly tell them that you do not want to discuss anything with them, tell them that you want to remain silent, and that you want an attorney present. Do not allow yourself to be tricked or coerced by the police.
3. Anything you say about the case to anyone, including most family members, can be used against you in court. Many defendants hurt their case by discussing it with family, friends, co-workers, cell mates, police officers, and prosecutors. If you have made such statements, we will deal with it together. If you have not, DON’T!
4. Never consent to anything without the advice of your attorney. This includes giving the police permission to search, take DNA samples, or discuss the case with you.
5. Never resist arrest. If a police officer is attempting to arrest you, be polite and cooperative. Inform the officer that you will go along peacefully. It is also important to immediately inform the officer – or any officer who tries to question you – that you wish to remain silent and you do not want to talk without an attorney.
6. The only information you should provide without consulting an attorney is necessary biographical information; this includes your full legal name and address. If the police want to fingerprint you after arrest, cooperate fully.
7. Inform the officers that you wish to make a telephone call. Get an attorney quickly. If you call family or friends, have them contact an attorney. Our criminal defense team is on call at all times of the day and night. You can reach us at 1-866-766-5245.
8. Post bond as quickly as possible. If you are arraigned and asked how you plead, your response should be, “I stand mute.” Do not try to talk to the judge about your case.
9. If you are unable to post bond, don’t say anything about your case to anyone in the jail. There is no one there that you can trust.
10. Finally, meet with your attorney as soon as possible. When you meet with an attorney from our criminal defense team, be completely honest with your version of events. Tell us about any past criminal record or witness that might help or hurt your case. Remember that you are the most important part of your defense team.
Contact us about your legal matter today! Call us at 1-866-766-5245.