What is a homicide?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Many police departments have a homicide division, and being called into that office is likely a frightening prospect for anyone. What many people don’t realize is that not all homicides are criminal acts. A homicide is any loss of human life that is the result of non-natural causes. So, a heart attack wouldn’t be a homicide but a traffic fatality would be a homicide even if there wasn’t any kind of criminal activity associated with the death. 

When a person loses their life due to the actions of another person, an investigation will usually take place to determine what happened. The outcome of that investigation determines what happens next. If the incident meets the requirements for a crime, the person who allegedly committed the crime will be charged. 

Even so, not all homicides that meet the requirements for a criminal charge qualify for murder charges. Each charge, including various degrees of murder and manslaughter, has specific requirements. In some cases, an incident that results in another person’s death might even be classified as a justifiable homicide, which won’t lead to a criminal charge. These cases are very rare and usually require the other person to be defending themselves from an imminent threat of bodily harm, such as rape, and the killing was done to prevent the harm from occurring. 

If you’re accused of any homicide-related charge, your defense planning must begin right away. The exact charge you’re facing and the circumstances of the crime can have an impact on what options you have to fight the matter. Discuss the matter with your attorney to determine how you should handle your defense strategy.