You can be charged with homicide anytime your actions take the life of another person. In Delaware, there are six types of criminal homicide:
- First-degree murder.
- Second-degree murder.
- Murder by abuse or neglect.
- Criminal manslaughter.
- Criminally negligent homicide.
- Vehicular homicide.
In Delaware, any form of homicide is harshly dealt with, including the most severely punished form of criminal homicide: first-degree murder. However, many of these charges can land you in prison for decades and impose high-dollar fines.
You should also note that first-degree murder is not a cut-and-dry charge and can be committed and charged in numerous ways.
Some of the actions that could impose a first-degree murder charge are:
- Intentionally causing the death of any other person.
- Recklessly causing the death of another person while engaged in the commission of, or attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit any felony.
- Intentionally causing another to commit suicide by force, coercion, or intimidation.
- Recklessly causing the death of a law enforcement officer, corrections employee, firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical tech, or any official personnel while they are in the lawful performance of duties.
- Causing the death of another person with the use of a bomb or a similar destructive device.
- Causing the death of another person to avoid or prevent your lawful arrest or while committing an escape.
You need to note that the differences between these six types of murder are at times unclear, and the penalties you face can be altered by just the slightest details of your case. They are all felony crimes, but lessening or having your charges reduced to a lesser felony can affect the amount of time you spend in prison.
Your Delaware criminal defense lawyer will analyze all the pertinent details of your case and always look for ways to mitigate your charges downward or have them dropped altogether.
What is Delaware’s “Felony Murder Rule,” and How Can It Affect My Case?
Criminal homicide and even first-degree murder in Delaware can be committed in various ways. One of the main ways you can be charged is by the court utilizing the “felony murder rule.” The felony murder rule will apply to your case if someone dies during or shortly after the commission (or attempted commission) of a felony due to your reckless conduct.
Most people believe that a conviction of any type of homicide requires being killed intentionally. However, under the “felony murder rule,” you can be convicted of murder even if you didn’t intend to cause the other person’s death. The state is punishing you with dangerous and reckless behavior that puts the other person at risk during the commission of a felony.