Chesapeake Homicide Lawyer

Murder and manslaughter are serious felonies. You can spend the rest of your life in prison, and even when you are accused of accidentally killing someone your conviction will follow you after incarceration. It will be difficult to find meaningful employment, housing, or get a loan. You will lose your right to vote and own a firearm.

For the best outcome, consult an attorney knowledgeable about the criminal justice system. Our criminal defense attorneys will listen to what you have to say to craft a strategy that will give you the best chance of reclaiming your life. Do not wait; your future depends on what you say and do once you are arrested. A Chesapeake homicide lawyer should advocate for you.

Aggravated Murder Charge

Virginia distinguishes between several levels of felonious murder, including aggravated murder, first and second-degree, and voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

The Virginia Code § 18.2-31 describes aggravated murder, a Class 1 felony, as a premeditated killing that is deliberate and executed willfully. Specific scenarios include killing a law enforcement officer, a pregnant woman, a judge, a witness to a crime, during an act of terrorism, or a person younger than 14. Aggravated or capital murder also includes causing a death during a rape, drug deal, robbery, or abduction tied to extorting money.

The gravity of an aggravated murder charge cannot be overestimated. A homicide attorney in Chesapeake will fight for your freedom.

First and Second-Degree Murder

The law considers first-degree murder a premeditated crime, committed willfully and deliberately. Examples of first-degree homicide, which is a Class 2 felony, include:

  • Starving another person to death
  • Lying in wait for another person
  • Imprisoning another person, leading to death
  • Poisoning causing death

More obvious first-degree murders involve arson, robbery, and sexual offenses or the attempt at these, during which someone is killed.

Second-degree murder encompasses killings not defined as capital or first-degree felonies. Notably, Virginia Code § 18.2-33 classifies an accidental murder as second-degree murder when it is committed during another felony. Convictions lead to between five and 40 years in prison. A lawyer in Chesapeake understands the differences and penalties of all homicide charges.

Manslaughter: Voluntary and Involuntary

Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter are Class 5 felonies. Voluntary manslaughter is an intentional killing, usually during a heated argument, while involuntary manslaughter is a reckless or negligent act, such as causing a death while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Manslaughter comes with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. A court may also attach fines. Talk to a homicide attorney in Chesapeake for expert advice concerning a manslaughter charge.

Defenses to Homicide Charges

An arrest on homicide charges does not signify guilt. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty, and a homicide lawyer in Chesapeake has the opportunity to rebut that proof with a credible defense.

Depending on the circumstances, defendants may be able to plead self-defense when they did not trigger the violence that led to the death and used reasonable force to defend themselves. Using reasonable force while defending someone else is also a credible explanation when the person killed attacked another. Defendants who can show an alibi at the time of the killing could plead mistaken identity. Defendants might successfully claim a killing was accidental when it did not result from an underlying felony.

A Chesapeake Homicide Attorney Tailors a Defense to the Circumstances

When you are accused of causing another’s death, you must convey the detailed circumstances to your defense attorney. Remember, the jury must believe that only you could have committed the crime as the prosecutor explains it.

Fortunately, your attorney can paint another picture, sewing doubt in jurors’ minds when they learn you had an alibi or were reasonably stopping someone else from harming another. When you are arrested and charged, your first call should be for a Chesapeake homicide lawyer who will stand with you. Reach out to Parks Zeigler, PLLC, to discuss your case.

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
4768 Euclid Road,
Suite 103

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
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524 Albemarle Drive,
Suite 200

Chesapeake, Virginia 23322
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200 N. Water Street,
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Elizabeth City, NC 27909
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