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Homicide

There are a number of homicide offenses. Below are a listing of homicide offenses and more information on each.

To be charged with reckless homicide, a person must have engaged in significantly risky behavior that resulted in someone else’s (or their unborn child’s) death. An example would be shooting someone while intoxicated.
Negligent homicide involves killing someone or their unborn child through an oversight or lapse in judgment. An example would be if a person got E. coli and died from undercooked food prepared by someone else.
To have committed vehicular homicide, you must have either killed someone as a result of negligent driving or as a result of speeding in a construction zone. Negligence here is the same as above: an example would be killing your passenger in a car accident because you were dialing a number on your cellphone.
Finally, aggravated vehicular homicide involves killing someone or their unborn child as a result of one of the following:
  • Operating a vehicle (plane, boat, car, snowmobile, etc.) under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Flying a plane without a license when there are passengers
  • Flying an aircraft recklessly or carelessly
  • Tampering with or removing airport or landing field runway markings
  • Driving recklessly, whether in a construction zone or not

There is no criminal case more sensitive or consequences more serious than when a person loses their life.  Depending on the nature and severity of the allegations, homicide can be charged as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail to a first degree felony, punishable by up to 11 years in prison.

Simply put, if you are convicted of homicide, it will be on your criminal background for the rest of your life. No matter what the circumstances were in your case, your life will never be the same. Therefore, it is critical that you give the defense of your homicide charge the highest level of importance.

A homicide attorney with the Columbus Criminal Defense team will take an aggressive and comprehensive approach when representing clients charged with homicide. First and foremost, we will figure out what mistakes the police or detectives made during their investigation, whether your arrest was lawful, if there were any problems in the collection, storage or testing of evidence and any other legal issues that can be raised on your behalf.

We do this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor and by conducting our own investigation. The discovery will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes, lab reports and potentially video or audio.

Our investigation will consist of going to the scene, interviewing all witnesses and potentially hiring a private detective for further investigation.  As our client, you will receive a copy of everything received from the prosecutor and our investigation for your review

Based on the legal weaknesses in the State of Ohio’s case and any other mitigating factors, we will negotiate the best possible plea available with the prosecutor for you to consider in resolving your case.

If your case cannot be resolved satisfactorily with a plea, it would then proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.

For nearly ten years, the Columbus Criminal Defense team has successfully represented clients charged with criminal offenses from minor misdemeanors to first degree felonies. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

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If you’ve been charged with any of these offenses, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced homicide attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at or via email at advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com.

Reckless homicide

This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000

Negligent homicide

This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A jail sentence of up to 180 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $1,000

Vehicular homicide

This is a misdemeanor of the first degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A jail sentence of up to 180 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
    • If you were speeding in a construction zone, your sentence will be at least 15 days
    • If you were driving negligently and have a prior vehicular manslaughter/homicide/assault charge, you will face a mandatory prison term
  • At most, a fine of $1,000
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for one to five years
This is a felony of the fourth degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of six to 18 months
  • At most, a fine of $5,000
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for one to five years

Aggravated vehicular homicide

If any of the following apply, it’s a felony of the first degree:
  • You have a prior vehicular manslaughter/homicide/assault conviction
  • You were driving under a suspended license or you didn’t have one
  • You have three or more prior OVI / DUI convictions in the last six years, whether they be from aircraft, watercraft or land vehicles
  • You have three or more prior unsafe operation of aircraft convictions in the last six years
  • You have three or more prior convictions for involuntary manslaughter in the last six years
  • You have three or more prior convictions for any of the above bullet points combined in the last six years

The penalties are as follows:

  • A prison term of three to 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for three years to life

If none of the above applies, it’s a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison sentence of two to eight years
  • A fine ranging from $7,500 to $15,000
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for three years to life
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for three years to life
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for three years to life
Have a question we didn’t answer below? Feel free to email us or call us and we’ll help you out.
Unlike homicide, murder involves negative intentions and some degree of planning–whether elaborate or merely in the moment. Homicide is simply killing one other person without planning and sometimes without intending to kill them.

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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335
advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com

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