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Criminal Defense for Murder Charges


A practical approach to your case

Considered by many to be the most serious of crimes, a murder case is not taken lightly by anyone involved. With capital punishment as an acceptable penalty in the state of Ohio, choosing the right lawyer for your defense can literally be a life-or-death decision. At Yavitch & Palmer Co., L.P.A., our attorneys work exclusively on criminal defense cases, so we know the arguments and actions that work best for your defense.

When someone is killed, different charges can be considered, including the following:

  • Aggravated murder
  • Murder
  • Vehicular manslaughter or reckless homicide
  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter

Aggravated murder

Aggravated murder is the most serious offense. To be convicted of this crime, one of the following conditions must apply:

  • The death was planned ahead of time.
  • Certain other felonies were being committed, such as kidnapping, rape, robbery, burglary or terrorism.
  • The victim was 13 years old or younger.
  • The offender was under detention or breaking detention.
  • The victim was a law enforcement officer.

The punishment for aggravated murder can be life imprisonment or even the death penalty.


A charge for murder applies to a death purposely caused by a defendant, the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy or as the proximate result of the defendant committing an act of violence that is a first- or second-degree felony. Under Ohio law, murder applies to intentional homicide without the aggravating factors listed above. The penalty for murder is imprisonment for 15 years to life. The prison sentence can be increased to30 years to life if the offender is determined to be a sexual predator.

Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter is defined in Ohio law as a death caused by a sudden passion, fit of rage or reasonably sufficient provocation in the defendant. Voluntary manslaughter is still a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 11 years in prison or more depending on the circumstances of the case.

Involuntary manslaughter is classified by Ohio law as the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy as the proximate result of the defendants attempt to commit a felony, misdemeanor or other regulatory offense. A conviction of involuntary manslaughter can be either a first or third-degree felony

Vehicular manslaughter or reckless homicide

Someone who causes the death of another while operating a vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner, or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Ohio law applies the same standard to motorcycles, snowmobiles, trains, watercraft and aircraft as it does to cars.  Vehicular manslaughter is punishable as either a first- or second-degree felony.

Ohio also punishes someone who recklessly caused the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy as a third-degree felony.

Regardless of the degree of the charge, it is important to have a well thought out defense and an experienced attorney who can represent you in an aggressive, yet respectful manner.

Contact Ohio criminal defense attorneys with a reputation for success if you’re charged with a homicide

The attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer Co., L.P.A. are experienced in fighting murder charges. Put a proven defense team on your side by contacting our downtown Columbus office at 614.224.6142 or online to set up an appointment. We are available to meet evenings or weekends if needed.

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