Capital Murder Defense Lawyers in Alabama
If you’ve been accused of taking a life, you’re facing some of the most serious penalties the state of Alabama can levy. The consequences of a conviction could include steep fines, life in prison, and even the death penalty in some cases. A high-profile murder case will also have long-term consequences for your reputation and family name.
But the law doesn’t treat each case of criminal homicide the same. For example, premeditated murder is generally treated worse than taking someone’s life in the heat of the moment. With capital murder in Alabama, which is equivalent to first-degree murder in federal court, the stakes are the highest.
At Kirk Drennan Law, we represent clients accused of the most serious violent crimes in the state of Alabama as well as defendants facing federal criminal charges. If you’ve been charged with capital murder or believe you are under investigation for this crime, don’t say a word to law enforcement until you speak with a knowledgeable Alabama criminal defense attorney.
Our Criminal Defense Group is led by skilled criminal attorney Derek Drennan. With nearly 20 years of criminal defense experience, he excels at what he does and is ready to fight for you. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
The Crime of Capital Murder in Alabama
Under Alabama law, capital murder is the most serious form of criminal homicide. These charges are reserved for the most objectionable cases. Capital murder crimes generally involve premeditation as well as any number of aggravating factors that the state finds particularly grievous.
Alabama statute defines capital homicide as any deaths involving:
- The murder of two or more people
- The murder of a victim under the age of 14 or in the presence of a child under the age of 14 when the victim was a parent or legal guardian
- A death taking place during a burglary, kidnapping, hijacking, robbery, arson, rape, or other sexual assault
- A death taking place during a drive-by shooting, while a victim was in a home or vehicle, or one involving explosives
- A murder done for money
- The murder of a law enforcement officer, first responder, or prison guard while engaging in their duties
If convicted of capital murder in Alabama, you can be sentenced to life in prison or given the death penalty. The state of Alabama currently has 175 inmates on death row and has held 67 executions since 1976.
What Happens in an Alabama Capital Murder Case?
Capital murder trials are split into two parts. There is first a trial where a jury of your peers will determine guilt or innocence. It is the job of the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you are convicted of capital murder, there is a second trial, called the sentencing trial. During this trial, either the judge or jury hears aggravating and mitigating circumstances to increase or lessen the degree of criminal responsibility for the crime.
Sentencing Aggravating Factors
Prosecutors can attempt to show any of these aggravating favors to increase penalties in a capital murder case:
- The crime was particularly cruel, committed in the presence of a child, or was part of a series of serial killings
- The victim was a child or a law enforcement officer on duty
- The defendant was already imprisoned, had a previous murder conviction, or committed murder to avoid being arrested for another crime
Sentencing Mitigating Factors
Your defense counsel can argue mitigating factors to outweigh any aggravating factors:
- You have no prior significant criminal history
- You acted under extreme duress or were only an accomplice to the offense
- You substantially lacked the capacity to appreciate the seriousness of the events
At the end of the sentencing trial, a jury can recommend penalties. In Alabama, the judge has the right to override jury recommendations of a life sentence in favor of capital punishment.
Murder Convictions Result from an Uneven Playing Field
Police and prosecutors are often playing a numbers game instead of seeking justice when someone gets hurt. It’s not uncommon for an innocent person to be charged with a crime in a rush to close an investigation and get a conviction.
Likewise, you might have a right to free public defender, but this doesn’t even the playing field. An Alabama public defender will do their best on your behalf, but these public servants are nearly always overworked and juggling large caseloads. Entrusting your freedom and future to this type of attorney is probably not a wise choice.
Aggressively Fighting Capital Murder Charges
At Kirk Drennan Law, we know your future, reputation, and potentially your life could be on the line. Our dedicated criminal defense team will thoroughly and independently investigate your case, including collecting and reviewing evidence, examining police procedures, hiring experts, and interviewing witnesses.
While any number of defenses could be available in a capital murder case, some of the most common include:
- Lack of intent– This is a requirement for this type of charge.
- Alibi – You were not present when the crime occurred.
- Insanity – You had diminished mental capacity when the crime was committed.
- Mistaken identity – You were incorrectly identified by a witness.
- Violation of rights– There was illegally obtained evidence or a disqualifying confession.
Violent crimes are vigorously prosecuted in Alabama, even without sufficient evidence to support allegations. As skilled negotiators, we know that a murder arrest often doesn’t lead to a trial. When approached early and aggressively, your attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or even dropped entirely.
If you’ve been charged with capital murder, we have the resources and legal know-how to protect your rights.
Charged With Capital Murder in Alabama? Contact Us Today!
Kirk Drennan Law is based in Birmingham and is available to defend clients against any capital murder charges in Alabama. If you have been charged with this most serious crime, you need the strongest criminal defense possible. Your life and liberty are at stake.
Time is of the essence in a case like this. You need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately that can begin working on your defense. We provide free consultations for all criminal law group clients and offer affordable and flexible fee payment options. Call us at 205-803-3500 or reach us online to schedule your appointment.