Homicide Offenses

Homicide Offenses Lawyer



Murder is a 1st degree felony in New Jersey, punishable by a minimum of 30 years imprisonment and up to life imprisonment. Murder is defined three different ways: (1) purposely causing the death of another; (2) knowingly causing the death or serious bodily injury resulting in death of another, and (3) causing the death of another during the commission of certain serious offenses, such as robbery, burglary or kidnapping. The last definition is more commonly known as felony murder.

First-degree murder, other than Felony Murder, requires an individual to possess a certain state of mind. Our firm is well-versed in these legal definitions and nuances. So, if you or a loved one is charged with such offense, rest assured that we will fight tirelessly to avoid the grave consequence of life imprisonment.


There are two separate manslaughter charges in New Jersey: 1st degree aggravated manslaughter and 2nd degree manslaughter. The differences between these two charges can be quite confusing, to say the least. Recklessly causing the death of another is considered 2nd degree manslaughter. If that reckless behavior occurs under “circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life,” the charge is elevated to 1st degree aggravated manslaughter. Death caused while fleeing or eluding law enforcement is also considered aggravated manslaughter. A homicide committed in the “heat of passion” is 2nd degree manslaughter.

These legal concepts are extremely complex and important to understand in defending against charges of manslaughter. It is critical for someone charged with this type of an offense to seek experienced legal counsel from the attorneys at our firm.

As a 1st degree felony, aggravated manslaughter is punishable by 10 to 30 years imprisonment and a fine up to $200,000. Second-degree manslaughter, on the other hand, is punishable by 5 to 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to $150,000.

Death by Auto

Vehicular Homicide, also known as Death by Auto, is typically a 2nd degree felony in New Jersey. It is defined as a homicide caused by reckless operation of a vehicle or vessel. Proof that the defendant fell asleep, had been without sleep for more than 24 hours, or was driving while intoxicated, all give rise to an inference that the defendant was operating his/her vehicle in a reckless manner. But these are only inferences, which, under some circumstances, can be sufficiently rebut or overcome by the person being charged.

It is critical to have an attorney who not only understands the laws regarding homicide, but is also experienced in defending against DWI/DUI and reckless driving citations.

Vehicular homicide is a 1st degree felony if it occurred on school property, in a school crossing zone, or otherwise in a school zone. First-degree vehicular homicide is punishable by 10 to 20 years imprisonment and a fine up to $200,00. Second-degree vehicular homicide is punishable by 5 to 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to $150,000.


Contact me, John W. Hartmann, Esq., by calling
609-897-1111 or send an email through our secure online form. I offer free consultations. I can help you with your homicide charges.