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Homicide charges comprise the most serious offenses under New Jersey law. Homicide is defined as the taking of a life by another human being, and is split into different categories, depending on the specifics of the incident in question.

Regardless of the degree of homicide though, a convicted individual can be ordered to pay heavy fines, and will likely be forced to spend years in prison. If you are currently facing homicide charges in New Jersey, seek legal representation immediately to represent your rights.

Types of Homicide and Related Penalties

Homicide that is performed knowingly or recklessly in New Jersey is dubbed “criminal homicide,” and is split into three different categories.

The most well known form of homicide is murder, which describes an act of homicide in which the defendant knowingly took the life of another individual. A murder charge is a crime in the first degree, and generally comes with a prison term of at least 30 years in prison, during which the convicted is not eligible for parole. If the murder involved the death of a minor or law enforcement officer, the defendant may instead face life in prison.

If the murder was performed recklessly or in the heat of passion, an individual may instead face the charge of manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter. Aggravated manslaughter is a first degree crime that carries a penalty of 10 to 30 years incarceration, while general manslaughter is a second degree crime, punishable by five to 10 years in prison.

The third and final category of criminal homicide is known as “death by auto or vessel,” and is a crime of the second degree, unless other factors were present, such as if the homicide occurred in a school zone. An individual may face this charge, for example, if he or she took someone’s life in a DUI incident, or due to distracted driving.

A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Like other criminal charges, an attorney can utilize specific defenses in the case. For example, an attorney may be able to demonstrate that the homicide occurred as a result of self-defense. In the event that a defendant is facing a murder charge, an attorney may be able to point to evidence showing that the act occurred in the heat of the moment, and could reduce the conviction to manslaughter.

Furthermore, if a defendant is charged with death by auto or vessel, a legal professional may be able to point to any fault on behalf of the other party that may have led to the accident.

Ultimately, utilizing the services of a criminal law attorney is necessary if you are facing homicide charges in New Jersey. All homicide charges come with serious penalties if convicted, so work with an attorney to review your case and present a defense to charges. An attorney at Dash Farrow, LLP can advocate on your behalf. Call us today at (856) 263-3198 to discuss the specifics of your case so that we can begin working immediately.