Types of Homicide Crimes in Tennessee

No matter the charges you are facing, we can work tirelessly to put our experience to work for you and build a strong defense on your behalf. We have successfully represented individuals charged with homicide and attempted homicide offenses in Tennessee. In such cases, the stakes are extremely high and your life could depend on the outcome.

Tennessee recognizes seven homicide crimes:

  • First-degree murder
  • Second-degree murder
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Vehicular homicide
  • Reckless homicide
  • Assisted suicide
  • Although medical abortions are legal in Tennessee, a person can still be charged with homicide for killing a viable fetus

Certainly considered the most heinous of criminal acts, a charge of murder or attempted murder is clearly an extremely serious allegation that requires the advice and representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Ridings Law Group, P.C., our Nashville murder defense attorney has been instrumental in defending clients who have been arrested and charged with capital offenses, such as murder, attempted murder, and other violent crimes. We work tirelessly to fight for your rights and to help you avoid the severe penalties that accompany a conviction.

Call our Nashville murder defense attorney today at (615) 394-7611 or contact us online if you or a loved one is facing murder charges.

First-Degree Murder

Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-13-202 defines the crime of first-degree murder as a “premeditated and intentional killing of another.” First-degree murder could also include the killing of another in the perpetration of or attempt to perpetrate any first-degree murder, act of terrorism, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, kidnapping, child abuse, and/or child neglect. It includes the killing of another by unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a bomb or any other destructive device. For the charge to be leveled against you, the prosecution must prove that the act of killing was premeditated and intentional, occurred during the time another felony was being committed, and/or the result of a bomb or another destructive device. Possible sentences include death, life in prison without parole, or life with the possibility of parole. Ridings Law Group, P.C. stands ready to aggressively defend your with its years of experience from the field to the courtroom and throughout the criminal justice system.

Second-Degree Murder

A conviction for second-degree murder could mean the penalties associated with a Class A felony, resulting in a possible prison sentence of 15 to 60 years, depending upon your classified “range” of the offender. Our attorney at Ridings Law Group, P.C. can use his extensive experience to help you understand the legal issues surrounding your individual case. We strive to provide you with the opportunity to be involved in your defense and with decisions that will have an impact on the rest of your life.

Voluntary Manslaughter

Sometimes when a person is provoked, a response of force may occur resulting in the death of another person. In Tennessee, this is a Class C felony charge of voluntary manslaughter. If convicted, you could be sentenced from 3 to 6 years in prison as a Range I offender and more if classified as a persistent or multiple offender.

Reckless Homicide

If there exists no intent to harm another individual but the harmful effects of one’s actions can foresee a life-threatening circumstance, then the resulting, unintentional death of that person is known as reckless homicide. Although this classification allows for lower mental culpability, it is still a Class D felony with a penalty of a possible 2-4 years in prison upon conviction as a Range I offender.

Criminally Negligent Homicide

When the natural and probable actions of an individual result in the death of another, the state of Tennessee considers this to be criminally negligent homicide. This murder charge replaced the original charge of involuntary manslaughter and is considered a Class E felony. While this is the lowest class of felony, it is still imperative to get an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you with this serious charge.

Vehicular Homicide

If the death of an individual occurs as the direct result of an automobile, airplane, motorboat, or other motorized vehicle accident, the charge is considered vehicular homicide. Certain provisions must also be met including risky behavior, driver intoxication, drag racing, or driver conduct disregarding posted construction area warnings that threaten the health and welfare of another. Vehicular homicide is a Class D felony with sentences of up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $5000, depending upon the classification of the offender.


The crime of unlawfully seizing and carrying away a person by force, or seizing and detaining a person against his or her will with the intent to carry that person away at a later time is considered kidnapping and is also a capital offense. A person who is convicted of kidnapping is usually sentenced to prison for a certain number of years. In Tennessee and at the federal level, the term of imprisonment may be the remainder of the offender’s natural life.

Contact Our Experienced Nashville Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one is facing attempted murder or murder charges, contact Ridings Law Group, P.C. Attorney David Ridings uses his criminal defense experience, as well as his decade-long experience as a Nashville police officer to work in your favor. We have the skills, knowledge, and dedication to fight for your freedom and help you avoid the dire ramifications of a murder conviction. You have rights and you are, by law, innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and, therefore, you deserve aggressive representation from an attorney that knows the system.

Contact our office online or by phone at (615) 394-7611 today for a free and confidential consultation.

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