Nobody should have to face criminal charges alone, especially when it comes to something as serious as second-degree murder. It can be a daunting experience, and it’s important to know the role of a St. Louis attorney in such cases.
A skilled St. Louis criminal defense attorney can be instrumental in defending against any type of criminal charge, including Murder in the 2nd Degree. Their knowledge of local laws and courtroom experience can help you understand your rights and build an effective defense strategy that gives you the best chance of success.
Read on for more information about understanding second-degree murder charges and the role of a St. Louis murder attorney in these cases.
What Is Second-Degree Murder?
Second-degree murder is a type of homicide that occurs when someone knowingly causes the death of another person without premeditation. In other words, it’s a murder that wasn’t planned.
In Missouri, second-degree is a Class A felony. A conviction carries a prison sentence of between 10 and 30 years or even life in prison in some cases. Additionally, a conviction for second-degree murder can result in hefty fines, probation, and other collateral consequences.
Elements of a Second-Degree Murder Charge in St. Louis
To prove a second-degree murder charge, the prosecution must typically present evidence of the following elements:
- The accused person caused the death of another person
- The accused person acted knowingly or with the purpose of causing serious physical injury
If the prosecution cannot prove any of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, it may be possible win at trial or negotiate a favorable plea agreement. In a case of Murder 2nd Degree, the prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant intended to kill the other person.
Possible Defenses to Second-degree Murder Charges
Here are some potential defenses to second-degree murder charges in St. Louis:
- Self-defense —To successfully argue self-defense, the accused person must demonstrate that they reasonably believed they were in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm and that their use of deadly force was necessary to prevent that harm.
- Lack of intent — If the accused person did not intend to cause serious physical injury to another person, the defendant may have a defense. For example, suppose the accused person caused the death of another person accidentally. That would be a defense to the charge of second-degree murder.
The Role of a St. Louis Attorney in Second-Degree Murder Cases
If you or someone you know is facing second-degree murder charges in St. Louis, it’s important to understand the role of a St. Louis criminal defense attorney in such cases.
Here are some of the ways a St. Louis attorney can help in second-degree murder cases:
- Legal counsel — A criminal defense attorney can explain your rights and options under Missouri law. They can also provide guidance on how to navigate the criminal justice system and protect your legal interests.
- Investigation and evidence collection — A skilled criminal defense attorney can independently investigate the case and collect evidence to support your defense. This may include interviewing witnesses, reviewing police reports, and analyzing physical evidence.
- Plea negotiations — In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to reduce the charges or penalties. A criminal defense attorney can advocate during these negotiations and help you reach the best possible outcome for your case. This may include a plea agreement for a lesser charge or a reduced sentence.
- Courtroom representation — If your case goes to trial, a St. Louis attorney can provide skilled representation in the courtroom. They can cross-examine witnesses, argue motions, and present evidence supporting your defense. A criminal defense attorney can also handle all aspects of the trial, from jury selection to closing arguments.
Hiring a St. Louis Attorney for Second-Degree Murder Cases
If you or someone you know is facing second-degree murder charges in St. Louis, hiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to handle the case is important.
You need an attorney who has experience in handling homicide cases and who has a track record of success in the courtroom. Look no further than Rose Legal Services in St. Louis.
If you’re facing murder charges, don’t go it alone. Contact us today for experienced legal representation and a strong defense.