In Louisiana, homicide charges are the most severe charges a person can face. Louisiana supports capital punishment, and those convicted of first-degree murder can face the death penalty. Homicides can be split into two distinct categories: murder and manslaughter. While both result in the death of another person, manslaughter is often unintentional or not premeditated. This is a small yet crucial distinction that can alter the severity of a homicide sentence.
If you are facing a murder or manslaughter charge, it is essential to partner with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Louisiana. Your attorney will make sure you understand the charges against you, negotiate on your behalf, and help you craft a solid defense strategy.
What is the Definition of Murder in Louisiana?
There are two types of murder in Louisiana: first and second-degree murder. A murder that is premeditated with the intent to kill or cause drastic bodily harm is second-degree murder. However, there are certain circumstances that move a charge into the more severe first degree, such as committing certain violent felonies while carrying out the murder. Some of the felonies that can escalate a homicide charge to first-degree murder include:
- Burglary or robbery
- Aggravated escape
- Assault by drive-by shooting
- Cruelty to children
Additionally, a homicide charge can be classified as first-degree murder if the murder resulted in the death of multiple people. Murdering civil servants such as police officers or firefighters can also escalate the charge.
What is the Definition of Manslaughter in Louisiana?
Unlike murder, manslaughter is not a premeditated homicide. If the homicide is committed in a heat of passion after provocation, it would be classified as manslaughter rather than murder.
The provocation must be severe enough that a person could lose control of their inhibitions or common sense in the heat of the moment. However, the homicide must occur immediately after the provocation. If the person waits then commits the homicide, it would be premeditated and classified as a murder.
The Penalties for Murder and Manslaughter in Louisiana
If you are convicted of second-degree murder, you will automatically face a life sentence in prison without a possibility for release. Those convicted of first-degree murder face the same fate, with the added possibility of the death penalty for their crimes. First-degree murder is the only charge in Louisiana subject to the death penalty.
Manslaughter charges are less severe but can still drastically damage your life. Manslaughter sentences can be up to a maximum of 40 years in prison with hard labor. If the victim was under ten years of age, the sentence could be increased to 50 years.
Partner with an Experienced Louisiana Murder and Manslaughter Defense Attorney
Both murder and manslaughter convictions lead to hard prision sentences or even death. It is vital to contact a skilled defense attorney as soon as you suspect you are being investigated for murder or manslaughter for the best chance at a successful case. Eric G. Johnson of the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm is a skilled criminal defense attorney who has tried all kinds of homicide cases in Louisiana. Attorney Johnson is committed to fighting for his client’s rights and has a reputation across the state, providing quality representation and winning cases. Call our office at (318) 377-1555 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.