Fight broke out, someone pulled out a gun and killed a man. Drinking was involved and the scene was fled.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Persons charged with aiding an offender are considered equally culpable of the crime and are subject to the same punishment as the principal actor - in this case, the person who shot and killed someone.
The specific facts of each case determines exactly what charge is brought and in cases involving death, the facts are typically scrutinized to a greater degree. Based on the limited information you provided, a prosecutor will probably charge this as a Second-Degree Murder (intentional but not premeditated killing). The max sentence is 40 years in prison but in reality, a defendant will not receive the maximum sentence. Instead, punishment is determined by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, which primarily consider the seriousness of the offense and the defendant's criminal history score.
There is usually much wiggle room for defense attorney's to advocate in getting reduced charges and if the defendant is convicted, reduced prison time.
I strongly recommend contacting an attorney if you are implicated in a homicide. My office has experience with murder cases and our consultations are free. Good luck!
I will have to respectfully disagree with the prior comment. Yes, aiding and abetting is punished the same as the underlying offense. However, if the charge is for 1st Degree murder, the presumptive sentence is life in prison. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines do not address 1st Degree Murder for this reason. If the charge is for 2nd Degree murder, then the maximum sentence is 40 years, with the Sentencing Guidelines dictating the presumptive time (306 months to 480.) The fact that alcohol was involved will not really matter unless it is used by the Defense to argue that the Defendant lacked the requisite intent to effect death rather than just great bodily injury. If you or someone you know has been charged with this crime, do not delay in contacting an attorney and I would not recommend talking to anybody about the crime until doing so.
This information is being provided as a courtesy to assist you in seeking representation. It should not be construed as legal advice or to create the relationship of attorney and client.
As an addition to the two previous answers, the guidelines ranges vary considerably based on the criminal history score of the ofender (assuming there is a conviction).
Murder two as an intentional crime has a low range of 261 months and a top sentence of 480 months.
Murder two as an unintentional crime has a low range of 128 months and a high range of 288 months.
In addition, the Court can always depart from the guidelines to a lower sentence in terms of months. This is called a durational departure. The Court can also grant probation instead of prison time. This is called a dispositional departure. In either case, getting a departure takes careful and thorough work by your attorney. Your attorney would file a motion for departure, and hopefully support it with testimony, an expert report, and other evidence.
All of the above assumes a conviction. There may be solid defenses which prevent conviction in pretrial litigation or at trial.
Contact a skilled attorney who can guide you through this case.
The answer provided is not intended as legal advice. Any question within a case involves numerous facts and circumstances that cannot be fully accounted for in this forum. You are strongly encouraged to contact an attorney to discuss your issue fully. John C. Conard can be reached for a free consultation at 651-264-3050.