About 23,000 cases of murder were reported in the country in 2021. First-degree murder is an offense that most courts take seriously because it involves premeditation and intent to kill a person. A conviction of this charge can lead to lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines, restitution orders, and even the death penalty. If you want your charges reduced, seek a criminal defense lawyer. While every case is unique and requires individualized attention, these attorneys know the strategies that they can use to reduce your sentence. Here are three ways a criminal defense attorney will get your first-degree murder charges minimized:
Plea bargaining is a process of negotiation between the defense and prosecution teams in which the person accused of first-degree murder pleads guilty to a lesser offense. Although it may appear straightforward, it requires a sound legal strategy to secure a favorable outcome. A criminal defense lawyer will review your case and advise you on the best plea to accept. They'll also negotiate a lesser charge, such as second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, depending on the evidence and circumstances of the crime.
Reviewing Police Procedures
Police officers may fail to follow the proper procedures when arresting you for first-degree murder. For example, they may break into your house without a search warrant or move your vehicle without having the right to do so. They may also fail to read you your Miranda rights. A criminal defense attorney can examine the details of your arrest and look for any mistakes or procedural issues made by the officers during the investigation. If they discover that there was insufficient probable cause for your arrest or that the police didn't have reasonable suspicion to search your home, they'll file a motion to suppress the evidence collected by these officers. This could lead to the dismissal of your case or a reduction of your charges.
For you to be convicted of first-degree murder, the prosecution must prove that you had the intent to commit the crime. Intent can be demonstrated through physical evidence, witness testimony, and your statements. A criminal defense attorney will examine the evidence presented to the court and determine if there is proof that you had a specific intent to kill someone. They will also look for proof supporting the self-defense claim. For example, they'll find out if the victim threatened or attacked you first or if you were protecting someone from harm. With these lawyers by your side, proving that you didn't act with malicious intent will become much easier.
If you've been charged with first-degree murder, don't hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer in your area. They'll analyze your case, advise you on the best plea to accept, and establish a legal strategy that will lead to a reduction of charges.