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Murder - Homicide Criminal Defense Oklahoma

No crime presents more severe punishment than that of murder or manslaughter. Homicide in Oklahoma, like everywhere else, is taken very seriously, and if you have been arrested and charged, or even if you’re a suspect for a homicide in Oklahoma, you cannot afford to be passive in any way. You need to act immediately to protect and assert your rights.

If you or someone you love is facing charges of homicide, including murder or manslaughter, in Oklahoma, you need to contact Privett Law immediately. Your very life may depend on asserting a strong and zealous defense, and the sooner you get started on building that defense, the better off you’ll be.

Below is an overview of the two homicide offenses in Oklahoma – murder and manslaughter.

Murder Charges in Oklahoma

Murder is separated into two degrees in Oklahoma, and the definition for each is as follows:

First Degree Murder: A person commits murder in the first degree when that person unlawfully and with malice aforethought causes the death of another human being. Malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take away the life of a human being, which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof.

There are other inclusions of actions that will lead to a charge of murder in the first degree, and they include:

  • The unintentional killing of a person during the commission of another felony, known as ‘felony murder;’
  • When death occurs by malicious abuse or torture of a child;
  • When death of another person occurs during the manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance;
  • When the defendant intentionally causes the death of a law enforcement official during the commission of official duties.
Second Degree Murder: When perpetrated by an act imminently dangerous to another person and evincing a depraved mind, regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual; or When perpetrated by a person engaged in the commission of any felony other than the unlawful acts set out in Section 1, subsection B, of this act.

Manslaughter Charges in Oklahoma

Manslaughter is also separated into two degrees in Oklahoma, and the basic difference between murder and manslaughter is the requisite intent.

First Degree Manslaughter: Homicide is manslaughter in the first degree in the following cases:

  • When perpetrated without a design to effect death by a person while engaged in the commission of a misdemeanor.
  • When perpetrated without a design to effect death, and in a heat of passion, but in a cruel and unusual manner, or by means of a dangerous weapon; unless it is committed under such circumstances as constitute excusable or justifiable homicide.
  • When perpetrated unnecessarily either while resisting an attempt by the person killed to commit a crime, or after such attempt shall have failed.

Second Degree Manslaughter: Every killing of one human being by the act, procurement or culpable negligence of another, which, under the provisions of this chapter, is not murder, nor manslaughter in the first degree, nor excusable nor justifiable homicide, is manslaughter in the second degree.

Penalties for Homicide in Oklahoma

Aside from the general intent issue, the biggest issue between the two homicide crimes in Oklahoma concerns the requisite punishments upon a conviction for each. Below is a breakdown of these penalties:

First Degree Murder: A person convicted of first degree murder in Oklahoma can be punished by death, life in prison without the possibility of parole or a life term with the possibility of parole.

Second Degree Murder: A person convicted of second degree murder faces a prison term between 10 years and a life sentence.

First Degree Manslaughter: A conviction of first degree manslaughter results in a prison term of not less than four years. 

Second Degree Manslaughter: A conviction of second degree manslaughter results in incarceration for anywhere between one and four years and a $1,000 fine.

Defense Attorneys for Homicide and Murder Charges

Given the extreme severity involved with any homicide charge, you need to realize that the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and with a first degree murder conviction, the defendant is entitled to a separate sentencing hearing. There are many other rights that need to be asserted, but which ones are relevant depend on your situation.

You are also guaranteed a right to legal counsel. Do not waste the opportunity to assert that right if you face any homicide-related charge. Contact Privett Law immediately to schedule an initial consultation.