Homicide is generally defined as the killing of a human being. In Washington State, homicide is defined as the unlawful killing another human being. The killing occurs in along side unjustified, justified, or excusable homicide.
What is Homicide by Abuse?
In Washington, homicide by abuse occurs when someone has repeatedly abused a victim to the point that it resulted in the victim’s death. The abuse rises to the level of an extreme indifference to human life. An individual can be charged with homicide by abuse when the victim is:
- Under 16 years old;
- Dependent adult; or
- Developmentally disabled individual
Who is considered a Dependent Adult?
The state considers a dependent adult who:
- Physical disability
- Mental disability
- Of extreme advanced age
- Someone who is dependent on another person for their basic life necessities
Is Homicide by Abuse the Same as a Murder Charge?
No. A murder charge is the result of a murder is a homicide done with malice. A homicide by abuse charge is the result of an individual showing an extreme indifference to human life and a pattern of abusing the victim. In this case, malice is not required to charge a person with homicide by abuse.
What Does a Pattern of Abuse Mean Regarding Homicide by Abuse?
It means the defendant is accused of engaged in a repeated pattern of torture or assault on a person who is a child, individual with a disability, or a dependent adult.
Is This Crime a Felony?
Yes. Homicide by abuse is a class A felony. If convicted, a defendant can receive up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
Should I Contact a Criminal Lawyer about My Homicide by Abuse Charge?
Yes. This type of homicide charge is extremely serious and has the possibility of life in prison. Contact a Washington criminal lawyer about what you can do to resolve the charge in your favor.