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Legal Blog in Duncan, Oklahoma

What You Should Know About Facing Oklahoma Murder Charges

Oklahoma's laws regarding homicide are serious, as you might expect them to be. Unfortunately, many people who become swept up in homicide cases are not actually deserving of the charges.

If you find yourself facing charges of homicide, the state may opt to charge you with one of several different types.

First-Degree Murder

First-degree murder is among the most serious crimes somebody can be charged with in Oklahoma, and you can see this in the strict penalties the state enforces. A conviction could lead to capital punishment or life without parole.

In order to be charged with first-degree murder, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the crime involved malice aforethought, which refers to the deliberate and premeditated intent to kill.

An exception is made for specific circumstances, with which you may be charged with first-degree murder even without premeditation. For instance, first-degree murder charges apply to homicides that occur during the commission of another crime, including the intentional discharge of a firearm, rape, kidnapping, arson, and robbery.

The homicide of a child as a result of child abuse is also considered a first-degree murder charge, as is soliciting somebody to kill an individual.

Ultimately, the prosecutor must demonstrate to the jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt when it comes to the murder.

Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder may occur during the commission of a felony, though typically not the ones listed as part of first-degree murder charges. For instance, you may be charged with second-degree murder if you are accused of driving under the influence (typically with a prior DUI conviction) and are involved in an accident resulting in another person's death.

No premeditation is required for second-degree murder charges, which is why some of these offenses are referred to as "crimes of passion." The potential penalty for this charge is life behind bars, but the minimum sentence is typically ten years.


Manslaughter is typically a homicide that results during the commission of a misdemeanor. Typically, the individual charged with the crime never intended to kill somebody, but a homicide was still the result.

One specific example of manslaughter is the homicide of a person who was committing a crime, but officials have ruled that no self-defense was necessary.

The minimum penalty of manslaughter is four years in prison, but the actual sentence is based on the nature of the offense.

Excusable Homicide

An excusable homicide is a homicide resulting from an accident during which the accused engaged in lawful actions. Perhaps an individual killed another person while protecting somebody else from a crime (like rape or a robbery).

Excusable homicide is not considered a criminal offense, and you will not be sentenced if you are found to have caused an excusable homicide.

Justifiable Homicide

You may be charged with justifiable homicide if you are accused of homicide resulting from protecting or resisting against a physical attack. You might also have been trying to preserve the peace or be a police officer who was apprehending somebody while they were in the commission of a felony.

Like an excusable homicide, justifiable homicide does not come with legal consequences.

Hire an Attorney for Homicide Charges

Sentencing for a homicide case is based on several factors, including your criminal record, the nature of the crime, and the potential threat to society you pose. You need an attorney, no matter the homicide charges you are up against. Professional legal counsel will help you move through the process smoothly.

Effective legal counsel is just a phone call away. Call the Kanehl Law Firm PLLC to discuss your legal options. You are not alone in the legal process.