What You Need to Know About Indiana Homicide Laws

You probably know that homicide is the killing of another human. But in order for homicide to be considered a murder under Indiana law, that act must be intentional. If you’ve been charged with murder in Indiana, you need a reputable Indianapolis murder defense attorney to assist you throughout your criminal case. Your murder defense lawyer will explain the process to you and will fight on your behalf. Below, you’ll find some useful information pertaining to these crimes and how they are defined and prosecuted in Indiana.

Murder By Definition In Indiana

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), homicide was the 17th leading cause of death in the nation in 2014. But every state treats murder a bit differently. Indiana, for example, does not distinguish between different levels of murder (i.e., first degree or second degree) like other states do. All murder charges fall under the same statute. In addition to intentional and premeditated murder, murder charges may also be brought against someone who commits a homicide while committing certain felony acts. These crimes would all fall under the only murder statute in Indiana. However, the state does allow for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter charges in certain circumstances, like death brought on by a sudden emotional response; and reckless homicide charges when the actions that caused the death were not necessarily intentional. These are treated differently under the law.

Manslaughter & Reckless Homicide

Voluntary manslaughter occurs when someone was killed out of passion or anger; even if weapons were used, it’s more about the heat of the moment, rather than a cold-blooded act. The most common defenses for these cases include self-defense and infidelity of a spouse.

Involuntary Manslaughter occurs when a person is killed as a result of an A misdemeanor or lower level felony that inherently posed a risk of serious bodily injury.  Vehicular homicide (which includes drinking and driving or distracted driving) is one of the most common examples.

Reckless Homicide refers to accidents that culminated in another person’s death. These cases don’t usually involve intentional violence. The defendants in these cases did not intend for these incidents to occur, but their reckless behavior still resulted in a homicide.

Common Defenses In Indiana Murder Cases

If you’ve been charged with murder, rather than manslaughter, you’ll need a reputable Indianapolis murder defense attorney to build your case and defend you in court. Common murder defenses may include:

  • Innocence
  • Lack of Intent or Knowledge
  • Intoxication
  • Insanity
  • Self-Defense

Some of the defenses listed may be used as partial defenses by your attorney as a way to reduce charges or obtain lesser punishments during sentencing. Your Indianapolis murder defense attorney will be able to ascertain what defense to use in your case.

Indiana Penalties For Murder

If convicted of murder in Indiana, defendants can receive the death penalty, life imprisonment with no possibility of parole, or sentences of 45 to 65 years and fines of up to $10,000. Defendants who were aged 16 or 17 at the time of their crime cannot be sentenced to death; however, they can receive life in prison without parole (except if they are found to have mental disabilities). Children under the age of 16 cannot receive death sentences. Indiana law does permit sentence suspension for most cases, but a court can suspend sentences beyond the minimum 45 years in murder cases.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for homicide, it’s vital to have a highly qualified Indianapolis murder defense attorney. To find out more or to schedule a consultation, please contact Hayes Ruemmele Law today.