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Charged with murder? You have the right to fight back

Being charged with murder is one of the most frightening experiences you could face. Your life may flash before your eyes as you contemplate the loss of your freedom and perhaps even your family.

However, you have the right to fight against a murder charge at trial. Here is a look at what you can expect from a murder charge in Indiana and what defenses may help you to protect your future.

What is murder?

You have committed murder if you have committed any of the actions below:

  • Killed another person intentionally
  • Killed another individual while trying to commit or actually committing a crime, such as arson, tampering with a consumer product, robbery, drug manufacturing or dealing, burglary, carjacking, or kidnapping
  • Killed a fetus intentionally after it has reached the point where its organs are developed enough that it is capable of sustaining life

Many states feature murder laws that are divided into various levels or degrees for different homicidal actions, such as murder in the first degree (premeditated) or murder in the second degree (killing with no premeditation). However, Indiana has a single murder statute. Still, the state has separate laws governing manslaughter: laws for involuntary manslaughter (killing someone on accident) and voluntary manslaughter (killing someone in the heat of passion).

What are the penalties for murder?

If you face a murder conviction in Indiana, you may receive the death penalty or a lifetime prison sentence without the possibility of parole. Alternatively, you may spend anywhere from 45 to 65 years behind prison bars and have to pay a fine as high as $10,000.

If you were age 16 or 17 when the murder happened, you cannot receive a death sentence. However, you may still have to spend the remainder of your life in prison with no parole.

What are some murder charge defenses?

A variety of defenses can apply to murder cases. If you can prove at trial that you did not commit a murder and the court believes you, you will receive a verdict of not guilty. Meanwhile, other defenses, such as intoxication or self-defense, are partial defenses. This means that they might reduce your crime to manslaughter at sentencing. Still other defenses that may benefit you include insanity, lack of knowledge and lack of intent.

An experienced attorney will thoroughly investigate your case, looking for weaknesses in the prosecution's argument and evidence, and can employ the best possible defense strategy given your unique circumstances. Your attorney's ultimate goal is to help you to achieve the most personally favorable outcome possible in your murder case.

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