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Murder / Manslaughter

Obviously the most serious criminal charge is murder. If you are convicted of murder, or attempted murder, you can be imprisoned for life, or even given the ultimate penalty - you could be put to death in some states. Often, a murder charge results from an unexpected set of circumstances.

In Alabama, first-degree murder is the killing of an individual without lawful justification, where the person who performs the act causing death either intends to kill or do great bodily harm to the individual or knows that his act creates a strong probability of death or great bodily harm. The elements of murder are the knowing, intentional, and unlawful taking of another life.

Second-degree murder is similar to first-degree murder, except that the defendant can prove that he was under sudden and intense passion resulting from a serious provocation from the person killed.

Felony Murder Rule
The felony murder rule can be invoked when someone dies during or shortly after the commission or attempt of a felony. All participants involved in the crime or the attempt of the crime can be charged with felony murder as long as the death has any type of connection to the crime.

A person who is convicted of felony murder will face either death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

To be charged with felony murder, a person must commit or attempt certain felonies including:

  • Rape or forced sexual offenses
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Arson
  • Felonious Escape
  • Terrorism
  • Carjacking

All participants are equally culpable, even if they did not actually take part in the crime, had no weapon and did not intent on hurting anyone.

Though the purpose of the felony murder rule to hold all participants of a crime in accountable regardless of their intent or involvement, in normal murder cases, the prosecution must prove intent to kill to get a conviction of murder, as this is the difference between murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree. The felony murder doctrine eliminates the burden of proof of intent and the prosecutor must only prove the intent to commit the felonious crime. A defendant is unable to plead innocent to murder yet guilty to the crime, the two cannot be separated, and a guilty plea to one means a guilty plea to both.

Voluntary Manslaughter
A person who unintentionally kills an individual, without lawful justification, commits involuntary manslaughter if he recklessly performs an action which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm. However, if the reckless action that causes death involves a vehicle, then the crime is reckless homicide.

Drug & Gun Offenses

Drug crimes and convictions carry a wide variety of sentences based on the type of offense. Sentences range from fines and counseling to life in prison, depending on whether you are facing a felony vs. misdemeanor drug charge. The severity of the crime you are charged with will vary with the circumstances, such as what type of drug was involved, the quantity, whether you have "priors", and whether violence was involved.

Even if you were using drugs recreationally, or even if you were holding them for someone else, you can be charged with intent to distribute based on the quantity the police found. Possible charges include trafficking, possession, distribution, and transportation, possession for sale, cultivation and manufacturing. Usually the most serious drug offenses involve heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD and PCP. Nevertheless, crimes involving marijuana and prescription drugs are being prosecuted more aggressively than ever, and can result in stiff sentences.

Drug offenses are made more severe by the presence of guns and violence. Where guns and violence are involved, the police are more likely to suspect a "drug ring" and investigate more aggressively. The prosecution is also likely to charge more aggressively. The gun charges alone could greatly increase the length of your sentence. But if you are involved in a drug and gun offense, you could also be facing charges for trafficking, export and import crimes, money laundering, RICO and conspiracy. Such charges could also change your state drug case into a federal drug case.

Some Examples of Drug Crimes could include:
* Drug Trafficking
* Possession of Cannabis (Marijuana or Marihuana)
* Casual Delivery of Cannabis
* Cannabis Trafficking (includes marihuana or most commonly spelled marijuana and/or hashish)
* Delivery of Cannabis on school grounds
* Production of Cannabis Plants (Psychoactive Plant)
* Delivery to person under 18; violation by person under 18
* Possession of Ecstasy (Delivery or Sale)
* Possession of Ecstasy (Date Rape Drug)
* Delivery of Ecstasy
* Delivery of a Controlled Substance
* Possession of a Controlled Substance
* Dealing Schedule I Controlled Substance – see below
* Dealing Schedule II Controlled Substance – see below
* Dealing Schedule III Controlled Substance –see below
* Delivery of Meth
* Possession of Meth
* Manufacture of Meth
* Operation of a Meth Lab
* Illegal Possession of Hallucinogens (Ketamine - Magic Mushrooms)
* Illegal Possession of Stimulants (Methcathinone)
* Illegal Possession of Depressants (GHB)
* Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession with Intent to Deliver or Manufacture Prohibited
* Possession Prohibited
* Possession of Cocaine (Manufacture or Delivery)
* Possession of Illegal Stimulants (Powder cocaine)
* Possession of Crack (Cocaine)
* Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
* Manufacture or Delivery LSD
* Possession of LSD (Lysergic Acid - Hallucinogens)
* Possession of Morphine (Delivery or Sale)
* Possession of Nitrous Oxide (Delivery or Sale)
* Possession of Narcotic Drug
* Possession of Narcotics Analgesics (Delivery or Sale)
* Possession of Anabolic Steroid (Delivery or Sale)
* Possession of Peyote, Barbituric Acid, Amphetamine
* Possession of Pseudoephedrine
* Possession of Methaqualone, Pentazocine, Phencyclidine (PCP)
* Possession of PCP
* Possession of Heroin (Delivery of Sale)
* Possession of Crank (Delivery of Sale)
* Possession of Opium (Delivery or Sale)
* Possession of an Opiate (Delivery or Sale)
* Possession of OxyContin (Delivery or Sale)
* Federal Drug Crimes

Theft Offenses

Theft and burglary involve the taking of something of another, including property or services, without consent. Although theft can be referred to by several different terms, such as theft by fraud, larceny, robbery and shoplifting, these crimes all generally consist of a taking without consent.

  • Theft by fraud usually involves using a false statement to obtain money or property, such as credit card fraud, internet fraud, identity theft, forgery and computer fraud.
  • Larceny generally means taking something with the intent to permanently deprive someone of their property including embezzlement.
  • Burglary involves breaking and entering into a home or other building or structure with the intent to commit a crime inside.
  • Robbery generally involves taking property from the person of another and includes such things as mugging or extortion.
  • Shoplifting, of course, usually means stealing from a store.

Not only can theft convictions result in very serious sentences but they also may result in a person being branded as a liar and a thief for life. Not only can you be put in jail or prison, you may also be required to pay what is known as restitution. This means that you could be required to pay back whatever you were alleged to have taken. You could spend years of your life paying off a restitution debt. It could affect your credit ability to buy a car or home or raise your family.

Sex Offenses

If you have been charged with a sex crime, you are of course, facing possible serious jail time. Jail time, however, could only be the start of your problems. You could be labeled a "sex offender." This is a lifelong stigma with lifelong consequences. If you are convicted of certain sex crimes, you may have to go through sex offender registration. That registration could follow you for the rest of your life, no matter where you go. Your entire community will know who you are, what you have done, and that you are a "sex offender."

Some sex-based offenses include:
* Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault
* Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse
* Criminal Sexual Conduct
* Indecent Exposure
* Lewd and Lascivious Conduct
* Molestation
* Pedophilia
* Possession of Child Pornography
* Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault
* Predatory Criminal Sexual Abuse
* Prostitution
* Solicitation
* Rape
* Date Rape
* Statutory Rape
* Sexual Abuse
* Sexual Assault

Domestic Violence

A variety of offenses, including assault, battery, and false imprisonment may fall under the general headings of domestic violence or domestic abuse. Domestic violence can be an allegation of physical violence causing injuries, or just the possibility of injury. Over the past few years, law enforcement has developed new policies, the court system has implemented Changes, and prosecuting attorneys have taken an active role in zealously enforcing both new and existing laws. These crimes are aggressively prosecuted, and even if the victim tells the court and prosecutor they do not wish to press charges, the case will not be dismissed due to the nature of the charges and emotional aspect of the relationship. Jail time is routinely sought even on first offenses.

A domestic battery or domestic violence situation can occur between spouses, domestic partners, former partners or spouses, parents and children or individuals involved in a dating relationship. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense in Alabama, you may be facing a conviction that can affect the rest of your life!

A few Examples of Domestic Violence Crimes:
  • Domestic Battery (Misdemeanor and/or Felony)
  • Aggravated Domestic Battery (Felony)
  • Domestic Assault
  • Aggravated Domestic Assault
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Aggravated Domestic Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Aggravated Domestic Violence
  • Spouse Abuse
  • Spouse Battery
  • Spousal Abuse
  • Spousal Battery
  • Aggravated Spousal Battery
  • Aggravated Spousal Abuse
  • Battery to Spouse
  • Assault to Spouse
  • Spousal Assault
  • Spouse Assault
  • Aggravated Spousal Assault

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