Indiana is a beautiful state known for its agriculture and Midwestern friendliness. There is much to enjoy and love, but there are aspects of the area that are not quite so savory. According to Northwest Times, South Bend and Indiana are both among the top 30 cities in the United States for murder rates. This alarming fact brings to light the fact that there is a strong need for effective criminal defense in the state.
While murder rates might be exceptionally high, not all who are accused are guilty. Law enforcement is not infallible, and sometimes lacking evidence allows the wrong person to be named as a suspect. Following are three things you should know about facing murder charges and building a defense:
1. You are entitled to defense
Any person who is facing criminal charges is entitled to a legal defense when she or he faces court. A public defender is often tasked with providing this defense, but for charges as serious as murder, it can be wise to consider other options. Hiring an attorney with experience defending those charged with murder can help you build a stronger case and minimize the chances of a conviction.
2. Charges may vary
Murder charges come in a variety of forms. Typically, you can be charged with either first- or second-degree murder, with the former being more severe than the latter. First-degree murder charges indicate premeditation, whereas second-degree charges indicate a crime of passion. You might also be charged with manslaughter, which is not considered a murder charge, but can result from a suspected killing.
3. Charges can be reduced
It is important to understand that charges can be reduced or dismissed if you have an effective defense. You might have a first-degree charge reduced to second-degree or manslaughter, for example, if your legal representative can negotiate such a bargain. Ultimately, you should aim for an acquittal so that you do not live with the consequences of a criminal conviction for the rest of your life.