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Cincinnati Homicide Defense Attorney
A homicide allegation can bring your whole life crashing down. Not only does a homicide charge jeopardize your future, but it also tarnishes the reputation you worked hard to build. You might feel the court sees you as guilty before you can convince them otherwise.
If you are found guilty of homicide, whether murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide, you will serve an extensive prison sentence, pay steep fines, and face challenges for life.
Simply put, homicide charges in Cincinnati need to be taken seriously by working with an experienced and capable defense attorney. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, a skilled Cincinnati homicide attorney is ready to listen and help develop the strongest possible defense.
Call (513) 438-8593. LHA offers free consultations and is available 24/7.
Homicide Offenses in Cincinnati, Ohio
Any situation where a person loses their life is a complicated and sensitive matter for all involved. Often, homicide charges stem from an unintentional act in a tragic accident.
If you cause someone else’s death intentionally or unintentionally, you will likely face a homicide charge. There are several types of homicide offenses in Ohio based on the details of the incident.
Section 2903.02 of the Ohio Revised Code defines murder as causing “the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy” either purposefully or as the result of certain violent offenses. For example, if you were involved in a kidnapping, rape, or felonious assault and caused someone else’s death, you could face a murder charge regardless of whether or not it was an accident.
Aggravated murder (ORC 2903.01) is a more serious charge than murder alone. It occurs when someone purposefully kills another person while in prison or attempts to commit murder after committing a crime such as rape, kidnapping, or burglary. It can also involve killing a police officer while performing their duties or killing a child under 13.
Voluntary manslaughter (ORC 2903.03) is knowingly causing the death of an individual or fetus while “under the influence of sudden passion or a fit of rage.” It is brought on by serious provocation by the victim that is reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force.
Involuntary manslaughter is defined according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2903.04) as anyone who causes the death of another person or their unborn child as the result of committing or attempting to commit a misdemeanor or felony.
Involuntary manslaughter differs from voluntary manslaughter in that the individual lacks the intention to commit the offense.
The Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2903.041) defines reckless homicide as recklessly causing the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another person’s pregnancy.
“Reckless” implies you fully knew your behavior could kill someone. You intentionally took that risk, even if the death itself was an accident.
An example of reckless homicide is playing with a gun and fatally shooting someone. You may have just been joking around when the gun unexpectedly fired. However, you willingly took part in a dangerous act by treating the gun as a toy.
Negligent homicide (ORC 2903.05) is causing the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy by means of a deadly weapon.
“Negligent” behavior differs from reckless behavior in that a negligent homicide does not intentionally take a risk. Instead, you failed to consider all the risks of your behavior. A reasonable individual in your situation would have done more to prevent harm—even if the act seemed harmless enough.
An example of negligent homicide could be target shooting in the woods without assessing the area and killing a hiker on a nearby trail. While you weren’t aware there was a hiking path nearby or even able to see it, a reasonable target shooter would’ve checked their surroundings before firing a gun.
Vehicular homicide (ORC 2903.06(A)(3)), also referred to as vehicular manslaughter, is causing the death of another person or fetus as the result of either operating a vehicle negligently or speeding in a construction zone.
Aggravated Vehicular Homicide
Most aggravated vehicular homicide (aggravated vehicular manslaughter) cases involve either an OVI / DUI or reckless driving. As the result of the involvement of alcohol and/or reckless conduct, this is considered a more severe and serious offense than vehicular homicide alone.
Aggravated vehicular homicide is defined according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 2903.06) as causing the death of another person as the result of:
- Recklessly operating a vehicle;
- Receiving a reckless operation offense in a construction zone;
- Receiving an OVI / DUI or similar offense.
An example is causing a fatal car accident while driving under the influence. You might not have anticipated the crash, but you fully knew the dangers of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Cincinnati Homicide Penalties
Ohio has different penalties for a homicide offense depending on the specific charge and its “degree.” Unclassified felonies will carry the most severe punishments, while minor misdemeanors have the least severe.
Homicide convictions and penalties in Ohio typically fall under the following:
Murder and Aggravated Murder are unclassified felonies in Ohio. Unclassified felonies are crimes that don’t fit into a conventional category and carry the most serious penalties.
A murder conviction results in 15 years to life in prison. If the victim was younger than 13 and you had sexual motivation during the offense, the sentence becomes 30 years to life.
Aggravated murder carries a sentence of either life in prison or the death penalty and up to $25,000 in fines. If you were under 18 during the offense, you could not face capital punishment (the death penalty) in Ohio.
A first-degree felony in Ohio carries a prison sentence of at least three years and, at most, 10 years, with a maximum fine of $20,000.
First-degree homicide felonies include:
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- Involuntary Manslaughter (during the commission of a felony offense)
- Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (as the result of an OVI / DUI or similar offense)
Third-degree felonies carry at least one and at most five years in prison, with a maximum fine of $10,000.
Third-degree felonies for homicide in Ohio are:
- Involuntary Manslaughter (during the commission of a misdemeanor offense)
- Reckless Homicide
- Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (as the result of a reckless operation of a vehicle)
If charged with a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio, you face up to 6 months in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Ohio first-degree misdemeanors for homicide include:
- Negligent Homicide
- Vehicular Homicide
The Impact of a Homicide Conviction on Your Criminal Record
Beyond legal penalties, the stigma of a homicide conviction can affect your future. These charges remain on your record. You may continue to face challenges after prison, such as:
- Trouble getting a job
- Rejection from family and friends
- Limited access to higher education
- Difficulty with housing
- Federal student aid ineligibility
- Loss of firearm rights
- Driver’s license suspension
Defending Against an Ohio Homicide Charge
Any homicide charge in Ohio, regardless of penalties, can be frightening. However, with an experienced defense attorney, you can provide a strong defense and fight to secure your freedom.
While it’s not a guarantee you won’t be charged, a solid defense can mean the difference. This could result in proving your innocence, a favorable plea to a lesser offense, or a dismissal based on a lack of evidence.
Some examples of effective homicide defenses include:
Self-Defense or Related Act
You may argue self-defense to push back on a homicide charge. According to Ohio law, if you were protecting yourself, someone else, or your residence, the harm you caused can be justified. The prosecutors then have the burden of proof to convince you were not behaving in self-defense.
Perhaps you were wrongfully accused as a result of mistaken identity. The perpetrator may look like you, or the alleged victim struggled to remember correctly. Your attorney will work hard to gather evidence and compile an alibi that proves you were not at the crime scene.
Lack of Evidence
The prosecution has to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney could argue that insufficient evidence connects you to the crime. If there is a lack of solid proof, then there is reasonable doubt that you are guilty, and the charges could be dropped.
Additionally, the evidence against you might be unreliable. A skilled criminal defense attorney will thoroughly investigate to find any holes in the prosecution’s argument or problems with the physical evidence being used. For example, prosecutors may have a key witness with a shady background. Your lawyer can provide counterevidence, which may help lower their influence over your case.
Your Rights Were Violated
There are some cases where investigators or law enforcement officials violated your rights. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure. There must be probable cause to enter your home or obtain sensitive information.
If your attorney can prove your rights were violated, all evidence collected illegally will be thrown out of your case. This may prevent you from serving any prison time or paying fines.
A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
You might feel hopeless or overwhelmed at facing a homicide charge, but a trusted Cincinnati defense attorney knows the law inside and out. For instance, LHA homicide attorney Brad Groene has handled cases similar to yours and will use that to your advantage.
Brad has years of experience handling homicide and related criminal charges in Hamilton County. His clients always come first and at any time of the day—and his efforts lend themselves to successful results.
Cincinnati homicide cases often involve extensive police and crime scene investigations to gather and analyze forensic evidence. Your lawyer should put that same, if not more, effort into building your defense.
In any criminal defense case, an experienced attorney’s help is vital. You owe it to yourself to hire a dedicated attorney who fights tirelessly for the best possible outcome. Learn more about the criminal law process in Cincinnati and tips for choosing legal representation.
Cincinnati Homicide FAQs
What should I do if I’m arrested for homicide?
If you have been arrested for homicide, your response can influence the rest of your case. Make sure not never to give a statement or accept a deal without a lawyer. Stay off social media, and don’t discuss your criminal charges with anyone other than your defense attorney.
Will I go to jail for homicide?
Jail time may or may not be required depending on your specific charge. Certain criminal convictions like murder, aggravated murder, vehicular homicide, and involuntary manslaughter carry mandatory prison sentences.
However, the length of time you serve will vary based on circumstances. Factors that influence your sentence include:
- The type of homicide charge you face
- Your previous criminal record
- Your age and personal reputation
- Your willingness to make amends
If you are charged with homicide, you may be sentenced to house arrest or probation instead.
What evidence could be used against me?
In most homicide cases, prosecutors push for the maximum punishment. They will likely have evidence against you, which may include the following:
- DNA samples
- The homicide weapon
- Expert testimony
- Witness testimony
- Photos or videos
- Bank records
- Phone records
- Text messages, letters, or emails
Many other types of evidence could be used against you. However, your attorney will also collect evidence in your favor and work hard to devalue the prosecution’s evidence.
Can I get homicide charges dropped or reduced?
You may be able to get homicide charges dropped or reduced in Ohio. It is important to speak with an attorney about your unique situation so they can understand the details of your case and determine possible legal routes.
Numerous defenses may be effective, and a lawyer can make the difference in your outcome.
Can you get homicide charges expunged in Ohio?
If you were charged with misdemeanor homicide, you might be able to clear your record eventually. However, if the homicide involved a motor vehicle or is a felony of the first or second degree, you are ineligible for expunction.
Facing Homicide Charges in Cincinnati? Contact LHA Today.
A homicide charge can be an overwhelming and frightening experience. You likely worry about your freedom being at stake, but a criminal defense attorney will be your best resource.
Attorney Brad J. Groene at Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP has a reputation for success, high client satisfaction, and 24/7 availability. LHA can help you build a strong defense and ease your worries after a homicide charge in Cincinnati.
Contact Attorney Bradley Groene as soon as possible to get started on your homicide case. Call LHA at (513) 438-8593 for a free and confidential case evaluation.