Honolulu Homicide Lawyer | Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm

Honolulu Homicide Lawyer

Homicide is the unlawful killing of a human being. Homicide crimes are among the most serious of all crimes and carry some of the most severe penalties for those who are convicted. In Hawai’i, there are three major categories of homicides: Murder, Manslaughter, and Negligent Homicide. Each variety of homicide necessarily involves the killing of another human being. However, the circumstances under which the killing occurs can result in anything from an outright acquittal to a conviction on First-degree murder. In many cases, it will be the mental state of the accused that will be at issue. Often, self-defense can be asserted as a legal justification for a murder charge. There are also several other legal defenses that apply to all varieties of homicide charges. Hawaii has abolished both the death penalty and the much-maligned felony murder rule.

First-Degree Murder is the most serious variety of homicide. In Hawaii, there are eight different ways to commit First-degree murder. Each version requires that the accused intentionally or knowingly cause the death of another person. As with all criminal offenses, the prosecutor must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The eight different versions are summarized as follows:

  1. Causing the death of more than one person
  2. Causing the death of a law enforcement officer, judge, or prosecutor engaged in official duties
  3. Causing the death of a person known to be a witness in a criminal case
  4. Causing the death of a person by employing a hired killer
  5. Causing the death of a person while imprisoned
  6. Causing the death of a person in violation of a protective or other court order
  7. Causing the death of a person protected by a police officer under certain circumstances
  8. Causing the death of a person known to be a witness in a family law case

Second-Degree Murder is the next most serious version of homicide. To be guilty of Second-degree murder in Hawaii, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused intentionally or knowingly caused the death of another person under circumstances not present for First-degree murder. Said another way, all other unlawful killings of another human being committed either intentionally or knowingly that do not amount to First-degree murder are Second-degree murder.

Manslaughter is recklessly causing the death of another person. A person is generally considered “reckless” if the person consciously disregards the risk that harm will occur. Manslaughter can also be committed by intentionally and illegally causing another person to commit suicide. Additionally, a person could be guilty of manslaughter by successfully asserting a defense to a murder prosecution proving the accused was under the influence of a reasonably caused extreme mental or emotional disturbance.

Negligent Homicide
is the least serious variety of homicide, and it comes in three different varieties:

Negligent homicide in the first degree is causing the death of another person by negligently operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Negligent homicide in the first degree can also be committed by simply operating a vehicle in a negligent manner that causes the death of a pedestrian or cyclist on the road. This is the most serious variety of negligent homicide.

Negligent homicide in the second degree is causing the death of any person by negligently operating a motor vehicle or causing the death of a pedestrian or cyclist by operating a motor vehicle with simple negligence. Simple negligence can be viewed as involving a lower level of unreasonableness.

Negligent homicide in the third degree is causing the death of any person by operating a motor vehicle with simple negligence. This is the least serious variety of negligent homicide, and the only version of homicide that is a misdemeanor.

Homicide crimes can be complex and difficult to defend. When facing any variety of homicide charges, it is crucial to hire a criminal defense attorney who has several decades of experience with homicide crimes.

Our attorneys have represented many clients charged with First-degree murder, Second-degree murder, and Negligent Homicide.
If you have been charged with any type of homicide crime, contact us to schedule a Strategy Session to discuss your case. Email us or call our office at 808-647-2423. Don’t trust your freedom to just any criminal defense attorney.

Hawai’i Office Address:
1003 Bishop Street, Suite 1260 Pauahi Tower
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813
Phone: 808-647-2423

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