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Criminal Defense - Murder Defense

Connecticut Violent Crime Defense Attorney

Murder is considered one of the most austere violent criminal offenses that you can be charged with. The crime itself is described as having the intent to cause the death of another individual and taking their life by force or trickery. Murder is classified as a Class A felony, but it has several other levels of severity from felony murder, negligent homicide, to manslaughter. If you have been charged with murder or homicide of any kind, then your freedom is at stake.

It is essential to remember that even if murder charges have been filed against you, it does not mean that the prosecution has enough evidence to bring about a conviction. However, the longer you wait, the more time you give the prosecution to build up a solid case against you. As the defendant, you start out at a disadvantage, but with the assistance of a skilled and aggressive legal defender you may be able to clear your name.

Here at Dolan Law Firm we defend against all types of felony charges, including murder, homicide, and manslaughter. Our team is persistent, not to mention we can help level the playing field and give you a fighting chance to dismiss your charges. Contact our Hamden office today to begin building your defense.


What is Felony Murder?

Felony murder is defined in Section 53a-54c of the Connecticut Code as causing the death of another person while trying to commit an underlying crime, such as robbery, burglary, sexual assault, escape, or kidnapping. If the court finds that a person was killed in the course of committing a specified felony or fleeing after the crime, then you could be convicted of felony murder. However, it is not considered to be felony murder if the person who was killed was a participant in the underlying felony crime.


Murder Penalties in Connecticut

Individuals who are convicted of murder in Connecticut used to face the death penalty. However, the death sentence was repealed in 2012. Currently, those convicted of Class A felony murder will spend 25 years to life in prison. According to the Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-35a, convicted murder felons typically receive a life-long prison sentence without the possibility of parole. However, there are different types of murder convictions Don’t spend the rest of your life in prison. Get aggressive defense counsel today from a criminal defense lawyer you can trust.

Murder – CT General Statutes §53a-54a

Murder is a Class A felony. If convicted, the sentence is 25 years to life in prison, with 25 years as the mandatory minimum. A person may be convicted of murder when:

(a) with intent to cause the death of another person, they cause the death of such person or of a third person

(b) they cause a suicide by force, duress or deception

An affirmative defense for a murder charge is that the defendant committed the proscribed act(s) under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance for which there was a reasonable explanation or excuse. In this case, they may be charged with first degree manslaughter instead. In addition, evidence that the defendant suffered from a mental abnormality is admissible in a murder trial. This may determine whether or not the defendant acted with intent to cause the death of another person.

Felony Murder – CT General Statutes §53a-54c

Felony murder is a Class A felony. If convicted, the sentence is 25 years to life in prison, with 25 years as the mandatory minimum. A person is guilty of felony murder when, acting either alone or with one or more people, they commit or attempt to commit one of the following felonies and, in the course of the act or while fleeing from the scene, they cause the death of a person who is not a participant in the crime. The felonies which the defendant may have attempted include:

(1) robbery

(2) home invasion or burglary

(3) kidnapping

(4) sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault in the first degree

(5) sexual assault in the third degree with or without a firearm

(6) escape in the first or second degree

There are several lines of defense that may be applicable if the defendant was not the only participant in the crime. If all of the following apply, the defendant may be able to drop the murder charge completely. These include:

(1) the defendant did not commit the murder or in any way request, command, or aid in the commission of the murder

(2) the defendant was not armed with a deadly weapon, or any dangerous instrument

(3) the defendant had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant was armed with such a weapon or instrument

(4) the defendant had no reasonable ground to believe that any other participant intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious physical injury

Murder with Special Circumstances – CT General Statutes §53a-54b

Certain situations call for a murder to be distinguished from murder or felony murder. Murder with special circumstances carries the harshest punishment for any Connecticut crime, which is life in prison without parole. A person is guilty of murder with special circumstances if they are 18 years or older and are convicted of one of the following:

(A) murder of a state or local police officer, state or judicial marshal on duty, inspector for the Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Correction officer on duty, or firefighter on duty (additional details)

(B) murder in which the defendant was hired to commit the murder – or the defendant hired another to commit the murder – for monetary gain

(C) murder committed by one who has previously been convicted of intentional murder or felony murder

(D) murder committed by one who was, at the time of the act, serving life imprisonment

(E) murder by a kidnapper of a kidnapped person during the course of the kidnapping or before the kidnapped person is returned to safety

(F) murder committed in the course of committing sexual assault in the first degree

(G) murder of two or more people at the same time or in the course of a single transaction

(H) murder of a person under sixteen years of age

Arson Murder – CT General Statutes §53a-54d

person is guilty of arson murder when, acting either alone or with one or more people, they commit arson and, in the course of such arson, cause the death of a person. Any person convicted of arson murder who is eighteen years of age or older will be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Criminally Negligent Homicide

Criminally negligent homicide is in the lowest category of these offenses and it is considered to be a Class A misdemeanor. Individuals convicted of criminally negligent homicide could face probation, thousands of dollars in fines, and/or up to 5 years in prison.

Criminal negligence is when an individual ought to be aware of the substantial risk of what they are doing, but ignores it and continues to act. However, if the death is caused by a motor vehicle, the charge is typically vehicular manslaughter rather than criminally negligent homicide. For a criminally negligent homicide charge, there is a proof of causation that must be fulfilled. This means that there must be a link found between the defendant’s actions and the death of an individual. A common defense to this charge is challenging whether or not your actions directly caused the other person’s death.



We Care, We Fight, We Win

Dolan Law Firm prides itself on being available 24/7 because we truly care about the future freedom of our clients. When we take on a case, all hands are on deck and we promise to do everything we can to achieve a case dismissal or a reduction of your charges. We believe that no other defense firm will work as hard to clear your name. We have a history of case victories and we can work to prove that the loss of life was justifiable due to self-defense, manslaughter rather than murder, accidental, a result of negligence, or simply not your fault. The sooner you get us involved, the better. Call us today to schedule a complimentary and confidential consultation.