Columbus Murder Defense Attorneys

Ohio imposes its harshest criminal penalties on individuals convicted of murder. More than 140 people currently await execution on the state’s death row, and life sentences regularly get imposed for committing homicides classified as aggravated murders. Mistakenly taking another person’s life or failing to act appropriately to keep someone else from dying can also lead to spending a decade or longer in prison. Because people found guilty of killing lose so much freedom, anyone facing a murder, manslaughter, or homicide charge needs the assistance of a skilled defense attorney at Leist Warner who will work tirelessly to ensure no conviction is made in error and no penalty is unjust in relation to the alleged crime.


Ohio Law Recognizes Many Murder Offenses

Reflecting how serious society considers the crime of taking another person’s life to be, as well as how many ways it is possible to intentionally or unintentionally cause a death, Chapter 2903: Homicide and Assault of the Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) defines several categories of murder offenses. While reviewing each, keep in mind that “homicide” is the catchall legal term for killing and for causing the loss of a life.


Aggravated Murder

These are crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment. In fact, O.R.C. § 2929.02 stipulates that one of those sentences is the only option for intentionally, and usually with some planning, killing someone while committing another first- or second-degree felony such as assault, robbery, rape, kidnapping, or arson. Causing the termination of a fetus while killing or assaulting the mother, and taking the life of a law enforcement officer while in the act of committing a separate crime or while trying to elude arrest, are also considered aggravated murder offenses in Ohio.



When a deliberate action such as third-degree felony assault or burglary results in a victim’s death but the perpetrator’s intent was not to kill, a charge of murder can be brought.


Voluntary Manslaughter

These are the so-called “crimes of passion” described by novelists, as well as the offenses most often referred to as second-degree murder. As defined in the O.R.C., voluntary manslaughter is committed by a person “under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, either of which is brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that is reasonably sufficient to incite the person into using deadly force.”


Involuntary Manslaughter

Misdemeanor offenses and code violations that lead directly to loss of life can draw charges for involuntary manslaughter. Examples could include inadvertently administering a fatal drug overdose, failing to keep a residence in proper repair, or stepping into the street and causing a driver to crash in order to avoid the pedestrian collision. Each of the following offenses listed in O.R.C. 2903 constitute subcategories of involuntary manslaughter.


Reckless Homicide and Negligent Homicide

Willfully ignoring dangers and consequences constitutes reckless behavior, while simply failing to exercise sufficient care to prevent harm is negligence. The O.R.C. specifies that mishandling a firearm can draw a charge of negligent homicide.


Aggravated Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Homicide

Both forms of vehicular homicide cover the recklessly or negligently taking of a life while operating a car, truck, construction or farm vehicle, motorcycle, snowmobile, locomotive, watercraft, or aircraft. The offense is considered aggravated when the driver, operator, or pilot was impaired by drugs or alcohol. Flying without a license and sabotaging an airplane can also be prosecuted as aggravated vehicular homicide, as can speeding recklessly anywhere and striking and killing a road worker in a construction zone.


Do Not Ask if You Need a Columbus Homicide Defense Attorney

Even when a person convicted of a murder offense does not receive a sentence of life imprisonment, he or she can lose the right to ever qualify for a driver’s license or hold certain jobs requiring professional licensure. The social stigma of having a criminal record that includes a homicide conviction can also prove difficult to overcome.

If you are being investigated in connection to a death ruled a homicide or have already been charged with one of the offenses listed above, consider calling Leist Warner at (614) 222-1000 to request a no-cost case evaluation. You can also use this form to provide more information through the law firm’s webs site. We have many years of experience in helping murder defendants protect their rights to receive fair treatment in the legal system.

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