Homicide, Manslaughter & Murder

Portland Felony Criminal Defense Attorneys

There is nothing more serious than being charged with Murder. Oregon law defines Murder as intentionally causing the death of another without justification. Murder also includes causing the death of another person during the course of the commission of certain other crimes. Murder, committed under certain circumstances can be “aggravated” which triggers the potential application of the death penalty. A conviction for non-aggravated murder carries with it a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Non-intentional criminal homicide is Manslaughter or Criminally Negligent Homicide. There are two degrees of Manslaughter. Manslaughter I, and Manslaughter II. Each has a very specific legal definition. Each carries with it a mandatory minimum prison sentence upon conviction. A conviction for Manslaughter 1 carries a mandatory 10 year prison sentence. A conviction for Manslaughter II carries a 75 month mandatory sentence. A conviction for Criminally Negligent Homicide does not require a mandatory minimum sentence. Criminally Negligent Homicide is more serious if it is related to drunk driving.

Homicide cases vary greatly in the facts giving rise to them. Some fact-scenarios can be relatively straight forward. Oftentimes the situation is more complex though. Oregon has strong laws providing for self-defense, defense of others and defense of property. Oregon law recognizes extreme emotional disturbance(s) as a defense to murder. Other mental health and/or emotional and psychological factors, while not rising to the level of extreme emotional disturbance can often be used by the defense to argue that a lesser offense or an acquittal is proper based on the client’s mental state at the time of the offense.

Perhaps some of the most challenging homicide cases involve the so-called “unintentional cases.” In particular, cases where someone is killed as a result of negligent or reckless behavior. For example a drunk driving car accident. Often, many otherwise law abiding folks find themselves caught up in a terrible tragedy as the result of one bad decision.

We have experience representing clients charged with all forms of homicide, including:

  • Aggravated murder (murder cases in which the prosecution will seek the death penalty)
  • Intentional murder
  • Felony murder
  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • Manslaughter in the first degree
  • Manslaughter in the second degree
  • Criminally negligent homicide

Our Goals in Defending Murder & Other Homicide Crimes

In mounting a defense against a charge of murder or other homicide, our lawyers have three primary goals on behalf of our clients.

We make every attempt to get involved in the case prior to any Indictment. In almost all criminal cases, particularly those involving homicide, the prosecution will submit its evidence before a small group of citizens called a Grand Jury. The Grand Jury's role is to determine which, if any, charges the prosecution may bring against you. You do not have a right to attend the Grand Jury hearing, nor do you have the right to call witnesses at the hearing. Without the early intervention of a Portland criminal defense attorney it is highly likely you will be charged with the most serious offense which the Grand Jury considers.

We work to ensure an appropriate and thorough investigation of the case. At Kohlmetz, Steen & Hanrahan, P.C., we utilize only licensed private investigators with whom we have developed long term relations. An experienced investigator is an essential component of any homicide defense. All cases are different of course, but the attorneys at Kohlmetz, Steen & Hanrahan, P.C have used the services of many types of expert witnesses to assist us in homicide case preparation. Examples include forensic engineers, accident reconstructionists, ballistics experts, psychologists, memory experts, battered woman syndrome experts, and more.

Finally, we defend our client's life and liberty at all cost, using our decades of experience and knowledge for the benefit of all of our clients' cases.

At Kohlmetz, Steen & Hanrahan, P.C., You Are Our Priority

Our law firm is committed to providing the highest-quality legal representation for reasonable rates. We are also committed to discretion and protecting our clients' privacy as they move through the criminal justice system.

All initial consultations are free. We will discuss fees in depth at the initial consultation and we will work with you to find a fee structure that is appropriate given the nature and complexity of the case. We can negotiate flat rate fees or hourly-rate fees, depending again on the type of case. In all cases, we make sure our clients always understand exactly what fees and costs they will pay for our services.

If you are facing an investigation or arrest for murder or other homicide charge and are looking for an experienced criminal defense lawyer, contact our office today to schedule a free and confidential initial meeting. Call toll-free to (503) 303-0771, or send us an e-mail.

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