Colorado Springs Murder Defense Attorneys
Ensure the Best Possible Defense for Murder or Manslaughter in Colorado Springs
Murder is classified as the killing of one human being by another with malicious intent. It is distinguished from other forms of homicide. Homicide is the general term for describing an instance when one person kills another, including non-criminal contexts such as self-defense, as well as separate criminal contexts like manslaughter.
In the context of criminal justice, human life is valued above all else. Disturbances to human life in any way (physical, mental, or emotional) are evaluated by their severity. Because murder is the ultimate disregard for and assault on human life, it is legally viewed as one of the most severe criminal acts and punished accordingly.
There are two different classifications of murder in Colorado, depending on if there was deliberation (also known as premeditation) prior to the act that caused the person's death. Murder is always a felony and is considered among the most serious offenses possible, therefore it is typically prosecuted with great effort.
If you or a loved one has been accused of murder in Colorado Springs, it is absolutely essential that you have an experienced lawyer to represent and defend you. At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., we specialize in criminal law, and have well over 20 years of professional experience. Call us today at (719) 475-2555 to discuss your case and set up a free initial consultation, so we can offer you the defense that you deserve.
Classifications of Murder and Manslaughter
In Colorado, murder is separated into two degrees, while manslaughter, negligent and otherwise, is seen as a distinct crime – not murder. All determinations and definitions are made on a case-by-case basis by the justice system and the evidence at hand. The degree of the murder varies greatly on the circumstances of the case, the work of both legal sides (the prosecution and the defense), as well as the judge and the jury.
CRS § 18-3-102 defines first-degree murder as an act with the intent to cause the death of a person after deliberation. This means that prior to the act that causes a person's death, the offender has time to consider his or her actions and deliberately chooses to kill the other person. Murder in the first degree is considered a class 1 felony in Colorado.
The major distinction between first- and second-degree murder, according to CRS § 18-3-103, is the lack of deliberation prior to the act that causes a person's death. Second-degree murder is still purposeful and requires that a person acted with the intent to cause someone's death, but did not take time to plan it before the act. In general, second-degree murder is a class 2 felony. There are some instances in which it is a class 3 felony, however; typically when the act happened suddenly and in the "heat of passion." This can significantly reduce a potential prison sentence or fine, so it is an important distinction.
CRS § 18-3-104 defines manslaughter as an act that recklessly causes the death of another person, or aiding someone in committing suicide. Manslaughter is a class 4 felony. Recent changes to the law have made an exception for medical caregivers who assist a terminally ill patient in ending his or her own life.
Criminally Negligent Homicide
This is defined by CRS § 18-3-105 as an act of negligence that causes the death of another person. It lacks any intent to kill, but involves the failure to perceive a risk that a reasonable person would respond to, which results in someone's death. It is a class 5 felony.
CRS § 18-3-106 indicates that this is a general category that covers a wide range of actions while operating a vehicle that result in a person's death. It typically involves either reckless behavior or driving while under the influence of alcohol or one or more drugs. Reckless vehicular homicide is a class 4 felony, while driving under the influence that results in a person's death is a class 3 felony.
What Sentences Do Different Types of Felonies Carry?
- Class 1: Life in prison or the death penalty; up to $1million fine.
- Class 2: 8 to 24 years in prison; $5,000 to $1 million fine.
- Class 3: 4 to 12 years in prison; $3,000 to $750,000 fine.
- Class 4: 2 to 6 years in prison; $2,000 to $500,000 fine.
- Class 5: 1 to 3 years in prison; $1,000 to $100,000 fine.
- Class 6: 1 year to 18 months in prison; $1,000 to $100,000 fine.
What Happens When Someone Is Charged with Murder?
If you or someone you know has been charged with murder or manslaughter, it is very important to act quickly to protect your rights. Do not answer any questions and immediately request a defense attorney to represent you. Because of the seriousness of a murder charge, you should choose a lawyer who specializes in defending murder cases.
Only answer questions with your lawyer present, and consult with your legal representative if you are unsure of what you are being asked or worried that your answer might potentially incriminate you. Law enforcement officers are well trained in how to interrogate suspects to get the answers they want, so make sure you have a lawyer there!
A charge of murder threatens exceptional consequences. Those charged with this extremely serious offense should seek the legal representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Colorado Springs violent crime defense lawyers with The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., can provide defendants with the necessary guidance and protection of their rights. For a complimentary consultation, call (719) 475-2555 today.
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