You found yourself standing over a person’s limp body, understanding very seriously that the individual had died at your hands. You know that you were defending yourself, but the situation doesn’t look that easy to explain when you consider everything that happened.
When the police arrive, you’re cuffed and taken to the station. You’re soon told you’re facing first-degree murder charges. You ask for your attorney.
Are there ways to defend against a first-degree murder charge? Absolutely. Each case is different, so you’ll want to tell your attorney exactly what happened. Your attorney may be present when you’re interviewed by police, so he or she can tell you when you can or should not answer. It’s important not to say anything that could incriminate you.
A justified homicide sometimes happens when you’re fighting another person in self-defense. If you kill that person, even intentionally as a way to stop the attack, then you can claim that you did so in fear for your own life. To win with this defense, you need to show that you used reasonable amounts of force against the individual. For example, if the person had a gun pointed at you, it would likely be reasonable for you to grab a knife or gun and to use a weapon against that person. It may not be as reasonable to be faced with an unarmed aggressor and then to use your vehicle to hit him.
In fact, if you’re able to get away from the attacker, then a self-defense claim may not work for you. If you kill the person after the risk of your death has passed, then you may still be charged for the crime. Considering the above situation with a vehicle, if you are able to get into a vehicle, you should be able to drive away instead of having to hit the person, for example.
Self-defense is just one potential way to defend yourself against a first-degree murder charge. Your attorney can talk to you about your specific case and the possible defenses you have. Our website has more information.