A murder charge in St. Louis does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. The prosecution is required to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. With a skilled and experienced St Louis criminal lawyer by your side, you will have an opportunity to put up a robust defense. Your lawyer will explore all possible defenses and create an effective legal strategy to protect your rights.
Mistaken Identity Defense
One of the strongest defenses that may be used in murder cases in Missouri is the defense of mistaken identity. Based on the facts and circumstances of your case, your criminal defense lawyer St Louis may decide to argue that the prosecutors have charged the wrong individual with murder.
If an alibi is available, your lawyer will try to support the argument with evidence that you were elsewhere at the time when the crime occurred. Forensic evidence and witness identification may also be challenged as part of mistaken identity defense.
Challenging the Specific Elements of the Crime
To prove the charges of murder against you, the prosecution will have to prove very specific elements – each of them beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements will include the actual act of killing, the accused individual’s specific and deliberate intent to carry out the killing, and premeditation.
The burden lies on the prosecution to prove each element before the court. Your St Louis criminal lawyer may try to argue that the prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt at least one or more of the key elements. Even if one element is missing, the charges of first-degree murder will get reduced to a lesser offense.
Accidental Killing Defense
If the killing occurred by accident it will not be seen as murder under Missouri law. In many of these cases, the murder charge could be reduced to a charge of involuntary or voluntary manslaughter. It will depend on how thoroughly your criminal defense lawyer St Louis is able to investigate the facts of the case and expose the weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments.
In some cases, your lawyer may be able to establish the justification defense by arguing that the act of killing was justified and therefore it does not constitute first-degree murder.
Acted in Self-Defense
Every homicide is not a murder, and sometimes it is not even a crime at all. Self-defense is a powerful argument that your St Louis criminal lawyer may be able to use to justify the killing. Your lawyer could try to establish that the killing occurred because you used a reasonable amount of force to protect yourself from physical harm or from an immediate fear of death.
The defense attorney will show that the amount of force that you used in self-defense was proportionate to the degree of threat perceived, and you were not the one who provoked the threatening situation. If you acted in the defense of others, it could also constitute a possible defense against murder charges in Missouri.
Legal Help from a Criminal Defense Lawyer St Louis
Murder is one of the most serious criminal charges in Missouri. It is important to act quickly if you are facing this charge because the stakes are extremely high. Legal consequences can include life imprisonment or even the death penalty. The top-rated legal defense team at Miller & Hine can pursue your case aggressively to have the charges dropped or mitigated. Call us at (314) 413-2053 for a free consultation or complete this short online contact form.