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Minneapolis Homicide Lawyer

Defending Against Murder and Manslaughter Charges in Minnesota

Broadly defined, homicide refers to one person causing another's death. Whether the act is premeditated, intentional, or unintentional criminal charges can arise. The Minnesota Criminal Code classifies several crimes under this umbrella term, including murder, manslaughter, and vehicular homicide. A conviction for any of these offenses can have severe consequences, as they carry prison sentences of decades to life. If you have been accused of homicide, it's crucial you speak with an attorney about your case immediately. Fighting such charges requires thorough preparation, and the sooner you get started on your defense, the sooner your representation can begin building a compelling strategy on your behalf.

At Brockton D. Hunter P.A., our Minneapolis homicide defense lawyers take such accusations seriously. When you turn to us, we will learn everything there is to know about your situation. Our team will get to know you as a person and really understand your needs and wants. From there, we can develop a persuasive strategy that tells your side of the story. We recognize the lasting impacts of a conviction, which is why we will be your zealous advocate throughout your case, seeking a favorable outcome on your behalf.

We have a wealth of experience and are ready to do what it takes for you. Call us at (612) 979-1112 or contact us online today.

Minnesota's Homicide Laws

As mentioned earlier, Minnesota law enumerates several different homicide offenses. The type of conduct involved determines the level of charge as well as the potential penalties.

Below are the state's homicide laws:

First-Degree Murder (MN Statutes § 609.20)

The law lists seven ways a person can be charged with this offense. They include causing another's death:

  1. After intending and planning to do so;
  2. While committing or attempting to commit first- or second-degree criminal sexual conduct;
  3. After intending to do so while committing or attempting to commit a specific crime;
  4. When the victim was a peace officer, prosecutor, judge, or correctional facility guard;
  5. While committing child abuse and having a history of engaging in such conduct, and showing an "extreme indifference to human life";
  6. While committing domestic violence and having a history of engaging in such conduct; or
  7. While committing or attempting or conspiring to commit a terroristic felony crime

First-Degree Murder Penalty

  • Life imprisonment

2nd Degree Murder Minnesota (MN Statutes § 609.19)

The conduct comprising second-degree murder falls under two categories: intentional acts and unintentional acts.

An intentional murder occurs when the actor wants to cause someone else's death.

The two situations in which an intentional second-degree murder charge may be levied include the following:

  1. When a person intended to kill another but did not plan the act beforehand; or
  2. When a person causes another's death while engaged in a drive-by shooting

An unintentional murder is one in which the actor did not mean to take another's life, but such resulted.

The two circumstances that give rise to an unintentional second-degree murder charge are as follows:

  1. When a person is committing a felony other than first- or second-degree criminal sexual conduct or drive-by shooting; or
  2. When the actor was under a restraining order and they intended to seriously injure the person named in the order but death resulted

Second-Degree Murder Penalty

  • Up to 40 years' imprisonment

3rd Degree Murder Sentence in Minnesota (MN Statutes § 609.195)

A person can be charged with third-degree murder if, without intending to cause death, they engaged in either of the following:

  1. An imminently dangerous act that showed disregard for others and a depraved mind; or
  2. The selling, exchanging, or delivering of a Schedule I or II controlled substance that was the proximate cause of another's death

Penalty for Third Degree Murder in minnesota

  • Up to 25 years in prison and/or
  • Up to $40,000 in fines (if the death was caused by a controlled substance)

First-Degree Manslaughter (MN Statutes § 609.20)

In Minnesota, there are five situations in which someone could face a first-degree manslaughter charge:

  1. When a person acted in the heat of passion after being provoked by another;
  2. When a person commits fifth-degree assault and causes another's death or when they commit a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor and use such force that they cause someone's death;
  3. When the person was threatened by another and they intentionally caused someone else's death because they believed that was the only way to prevent imminent harm;
  4. When a person sold, delivered, administered, or gave away a Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance that was the proximate cause of another's death; or
  5. When a person committed malicious punishment of a child and caused death

First-Degree Manslaughter Penalties

  • Up to 15 years in prison and/or
  • Up to $30,000 in fines

Second-Degree Manslaughter (MN Statutes § 609.205)

There are five instances in which a person could be charged with second-degree manslaughter:

  1. The person acted negligently and created circumstances that put others at unreasonable risk of death or great bodily harm;
  2. The person negligently thought the other individual was an animal and fatally shot them;
  3. The person set a trap that caused death of another;
  4. The person knowingly allowed a vicious animal or one that previously caused injury to roam free on their property or was negligent in keeping the property enclosed; or
  5. The person committed or attempted to commit neglect or child endangerment and the act was not first-, second-, or third-degree murder

Second-Degree Manslaughter Penalties

  • Up to 10 years' imprisonment and/or
  • Up to $20,000 in fines

Vehicular Homicide (MN Statutes § 609.2112)

If a person operates a motor vehicle and causes another's (and their actions don't constitute murder or manslaughter), they could be charged with vehicular homicide.

The specific conduct that could lead to prosecution includes operating a vehicle:

  1. Grossly negligently;
  2. Negligently and under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs;
  3. With an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher;
  4. Negligently after having consumed an intoxicating substance the person knew could cause impairment;
  5. Negligently and with a Schedule I or II controlled substance (except marijuana or THC) in the person's system, regardless of the amount;
  6. And leaving the scene after causing an accident; or
  7. After receiving a citation for a maintenance defect and not getting it repaired even though the person knew the issue could place others in danger

Vehicular Homicide Penalties

  • Up to 10 years in prison and/or
  • Up to $20,000 in fines

Defending Homicide Charges

Being accused of a homicide offense is serious, but that doesn't mean you can't fight the charges. Depending on the situation, defenses can be raised to challenge the allegations.

For instance, the taking of another's life may be justified when the person reasonably believed such was necessary to prevent:

  • Great bodily harm to themselves or another, or
  • A felony from being committed at their home

At Brockton D. Hunter P.A., our Minneapolis homicide attorneys thoroughly prepare for these cases to build a solid defense on behalf of our clients. When you turn to us, you can trust that we will comb through every detail to protect your rights and seek a favorable result on your behalf.

To learn more about how our experienced team can fight for you, contact us at (612) 979-1112 today.

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