There are few charges more consequential than murder. If you’ve been accused, you’ll need an attorney with the highest possible level of skill and experience to represent you. My goal in representing your case is to reduce your sentence and optimize your chances of parole. In 2019, of the homicide cases that reached the Jackson County Prosecutor, nearly all of them resulted in a conviction with an average prison sentence of 23.2 years. At Richman Law Office LLC, I will work tirelessly to defend your life and reduce your sentence. I proudly serve clients throughout Kansas City, Kansas, and Missouri.
A murder charge usually means you knowingly and deliberately killed another person. This is often called “malice” and signifies that the homicide was done with intent. Intent can be a tricky term to define in a court of law, and not every case is clear-cut. “Intent” can be hard to prove and in some cases cannot be proven at all which usually results in a manslaughter charge.
First Degree: A first-degree murder charge is the most serious conviction and occurs when the homicide was premeditated without a legally valid reason (like self-defense, for example). In both Kansas and Missouri, first-degree murder can be a capital offense, meaning it’s punishable by the death penalty or life in prison, in some cases without parole.
Second Degree: Second-degree murders are usually intentional but without premeditation. In Missouri, the penalty is 10 to 30 years or life in prison, and in Kansas, it can range from 20 to 50 years, depending on past felonies.
Third Degree / Involuntary Manslaughter: These charges are usually reserved for a homicide that’s deemed accidental, but is often because of reckless or negligent behavior. In Kansas, an involuntary manslaughter penalty can be as low as 34 months in prison and in Missouri as low as four years, though there are ranges of severity that could bring prison time up to 17 years.
Special Circumstances: In many cases, there are special circumstances that can either be leveraged in your favor or used to impose a harsher sentence. For example, if you are also convicted of another felony such as kidnapping, or if there was more than one person killed, your sentence will likely be longer. However, if you have no criminal record or if you were young, your sentence will likely be shorter.
My team will put together a comprehensive and tailored defense responsive to your individual circumstances. However, most defenses will only reduce your sentence partially, though there are some (such as being proven innocent) that can result in a complete dismissal.
Accident or Misfortune: In some cases, if you can show the homicide was an accident, it can help reduce the penalty. However, it can be extremely hard to prove this in a court of law without an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.
Heat of Passion: If you’re able to prove you committed the homicide in the heat of passion, it’s likely your sentence will be reduced to manslaughter since the crime was not premeditated or deliberated.
Defense of Habitation, Property, or Person: This is commonly known as a “self-defense” argument. To use this murder defense approach, you need to prove there was an imminent threat, that you were in fear of physical harm, and that you reacted with a “proportional response.” Both Kansas and Missouri also have what’s called the “castle doctrine” that allows you to defend your home against attack.
A criminal defense attorney can help anyone convicted of murder, regardless of their guilt or innocence. Even those guilty of murder deserve to have their rights protected and the best case put forth. In many circumstances, I can achieve lower sentences for clients than they originally expected. I’m intimately familiar with laws on both sides of the state line and have worked as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney so I can anticipate arguments that might be made.
No one should face a murder charge on their own. You’ll need a skilled attorney in your corner, and I work with clients both in Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. It’s never too late to keep fighting for the best possible outcome and I can help you do this. Call my office today for help with your case.