What Is Homicide Under Ohio Law?
Homicide is a general term that simply means causing the death of another person. Under this umbrella, there are several different categories, ranging from murder to manslaughter, that are further broken down by degree. Your actual charges will depend on a number of factors such as evidence of intent, premeditation, other crimes committed at the same time, the victim or victims, the role of alcohol or drugs, or indications of negligence. Because the scope of these laws is so vast, you need a competent attorney to parse your particular case and develop a defense unique to your circumstances.
Types of Homicide
Though there are gradations within homicide charges, the three most common will be murder, manslaughter, and vehicular. It’s important to understand the differences between these.
- Murder: A murder charge means you deliberatley caused the death of another person and could also inlcude an aggravated charge, meaning the murder was planned and done on purpose.
- Manslaughter: Manslaughter can be divided into voluntary and involuntary charges. Voluntary manslaughter usually arises from the “heat of passion” or a fit of rage. Involuntary manslaughter, sometimes called criminally negligent homicide, is done unintentionally while committing a felony.
- Vehicular: This charge applies when the death is caused by a motor vehicle and can result in a homicide, manslaughter, or aggravated homicide charge.
Having a homicide on your record can affect you negatively for the rest of your life. Felony convictions can also bring with them penalties including heavy fines, prison time, and beyond. Because there’s such a range of penalties, it’s imperative your attorney understands the complete story and is able to work with the prosecution and courts to reduce charges and minimize sentencing as much as possible.
Before your case even makes it to the courtroom, your lawyer will begin negotiating with the prosecution. They may be able to strike a plea agreement, or they may be able to reduce the charges to a lesser offense to minimize penalties. It’s also possible that your charges be changed to a wrongful death claim if it can be proven that the homicide was unintentional and the result of negligence.
If your case does go to court, it will be up to the prosecution to prove intent. This can be tricky to do. Your defense team will conduct a thorough investigation and uncover any supporting evidence that could prove you were acting in self-defense or defending someone else, protecting your property, or that the homicide was justified.