Murder or Manslaughter Charges in Ohio

Columbus Murder, Manslaughter, & Homicide Lawyers

Relentless defense advocacy for Central Ohio defendants

A murder charge is the most serious criminal charge you can face. If convicted, your life could be at stake. If you are spared a death sentence, you will likely spend a large part of your life in prison. The goals in murder cases are to obtain a dismissal of the charges before the trial starts, an acquittal if your case proceeds to a trial by jury, or to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges to a less serious murder offense or a less serious violent crime offense.

Soroka & Associates, LLC, is composed of experienced felony defense attorneys. Our Columbus attorneys will fight to protect you and your rights when facing this frightening situation. We are experienced trial lawyers who understand what legal and factual defenses apply. We fight to show there is a reasonable doubt, that you lacked intent for your actions, that your Constitutional rights were violated, and that the prosecution prove each and every element of the defense. Our lawyers have obtained numerous acquittals and dismissals of serious criminal charges in Central Ohio.

If you have been arrested, indicted or charged with a violent crime in Ohio, the first suggestion is that you stay silent until you can speak with an experienced violent crime defense attorney. Utilizing your right to remain silent protects you from self-incrimination, and allows for the best possible defense.

What are the charges for taking another person’s life in Ohio?

The taking of another person’s life, even when unintentional, is the most serious accusation you can face. Ohio has multiple charges you may face, including:

  • MurderOhio Rev. Code § 2903.02. Murder occurs when a person:
    • purposefully causes the death of another person or unlawfully terminates another person’s pregnancy; or
    • Causes the death of another person from the commission of a first- or second-degree felony.
  • Aggravated Murder. Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.01. Aggravated murder occurs when a person:
    • Purposefully, with prior calculation or design, causes the death of another person or unlawfully terminates another person’s pregnancy;
    • Causes the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy while committing or attempting to commit, or while fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit, kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated robbery, robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary, trespass in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present, terrorism, or escape;
      • Purposely causes the death of another who is under 13 years of age;
      • Who is under detention for a felony, breaks out of detention, and causes the death of another;
      • Purposely causes the death of a law enforcement officer
  • Voluntary Manslaughter. Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.03. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person knowingly causes the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy by:
    • Heat of passion or rage, or
    • Serious provocation by the victim.
  • Involuntary ManslaughterOhio Rev. Code § 2903.04. Involuntary manslaughter occurs if a person causes the death of another or unlawfully terminates the pregnancy of another by:
    • Committing or attempting to commit a felony, or
    • Attempting to commit or committing a misdemeanor or other regulatory offense.
  • Negligent homicide. Ohio Rev. Code. § 2903.05. No person shall negligently cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another's pregnancy by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance as defined in the Ohio statutes.

Every single one of these charges is serious, and demands and aggressive strategy for defense. You do not want to wait to hire an attorney if you have been charged, or may be charged, with murder, manslaughter, or homicide in Columbus.

What you should know about vehicular homicide

While many homicides are person-to-person crimes (often by the use of a weapon), defendants may also be charged with murder if they use a vehicle to commit the death of someone. Our Columbus vehicular homicide defense lawyers represent anyone in Columbus who is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide, or vehicular manslaughter. Ohio Rev. Code. § 2903.06.

Some of the factors that determine if charges can be filed and what charges should be filed when a vehicle causes a death include – whether a municipal ordnance was violated, whether the act was reckless, whether the vehicle accident was the proximate cause of the victim’s death, whether the driver was negligent, and other factors.

What are the penalties for murder or manslaughter charges in Columbus?

Murder charges are penalized according to Section 2929.02 of the Ohio statutes. The penalties may include death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for a specific term of years (such as 15 years or 30 years). Some of the factors that may affect the sentence include the defendant’s prior record, whether the murder was aggravated, the age of the defendant at the time of the offense, whether the offense involves “a sexual motivation specification and a sexually violent predator specification,” and many other factors.

Voluntary manslaughter is generally a felony of the first degree which is punishable by 3-11 years in prison and fines up to $20,000.

Involuntary manslaughter is generally either a felony of the first degree or a felony of the third degree. A felony of the third degree is punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Our Columbus criminal defense lawyers will explain the penalties for the various vehicular homicide offenses.

What defenses may apply when someone is charged with murder in Columbus?

There are different types of defenses to murder charges and different legal and factual arguments. We usually work to show that:

  • You had a clear alibi
  • Someone else committed the crime
  • You acted in self-defense
  • You acted in defense of others
  • You acted in the name/line of duty
  • Your conduct was not the proximate cause of the victim’s death

Some of the legal defenses and strategies our Columbus defense lawyers use include:

  • Showing that there is a reasonable doubt about one or more elements of the charges
  • Asserting a violation of one or more of you US Constitutional rights
  • Showing a lack of purpose/intent for crimes that require showing purpose/intent
  • Working to select a jury that is most likely to listen to your defense
  • Skillfully cross-examining the witnesses against you
  • Seeking to suppress evidence

We may also work to negotiate a plea bargain such as reducing an aggravated or voluntary manslaughter charge to an involuntary manslaughter charge.

Do you have a murder or manslaughter defense lawyer near me?

Soroka & Associates is located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205 in Columbus. We meet with criminal defendants in custody, and can schedule a phone or video consultation when necessary.

Call our experienced Columbus murder, manslaughter, and homicide lawyers today

At Soroka & Associates, we have earned the respect of former defendants and prosecutors for our ability to tenaciously and persuasively argue your defenses. We represent defendants charged with murder, manslaughter, and homicide in and around Columbus and Central Ohio, including in Licking County, Delaware County, Fairfield County, and beyond. We will represent you at every stage of the criminal process, from the arrest and bail hearing through trial and appeal. Please call 614-358-6525 or fill out our contact form to start your defense. We will guide you through each phase of the criminal process. Our initial consultations are always free.