Nashville Murder Defense Attorney

Jail Cell - 454203385Tennessee defines murder, or criminal homicide, as the unlawful killing of another person.

First-Degree Murder (capital punishment)

This includes:

  • Premeditated and intentional killing of another.
  • Killing of another while committing (or attempting to commit) an act of terrorism, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child or aircraft piracy.
  • Killing of another as the result of the unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.

Second-Degree Murder (Class A felony)

This includes:

  • A knowing killing of another
  • Killing of another that results form the unlawful distribution of any Schedule I or II drug, when the drug is the proximate cause of the death of the user.

Voluntary Manslaughter (Class C felony)

This is the intentional or knowing killing of another in a state of passion produced by adequate provocation sufficient to lead a reasonable person to act in an irrational manner.  A Nashville criminal attorney has seen this occur, for example, when a defendant witnesses the spouse committing adultery and immediately kills the spouse and/or lover.

Vehicular Homicide (Classes A-D)

A defendant recklessly kills another by the operation of an automobile, airplane, motorboat or other motor vehicle as the proximate result of:

  • Conduct creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person; or
  • Conduct constituting the offense of drag racing

These are Class C felonies. If the driver was intoxicated by alcohol and/or drugs, then the driver committed a Class B felony.

If the driver’s conduct in a posted construction zone resulted in the death of an employee of the Department of Transportation, or of a highway construction worker, then the driver committed a Class D felony.

A driver charged with aggravated vehicular homicide faces a Class A felony.

Drivers convicted of vehicular homicide are prohibited from driving a vehicle in Tennessee for three to 10 years.

Assisted Suicide (Class D felony)

This is when the defendant:

  • Intentionally provides another person with the means by which the person directly and intentionally brings about such person’s own death; or
  • Intentionally participates in a physical act by which another person directly and intentionally brings about such person’s own death; and
  • Provides the means or participates in a physical act with:
  • Actual knowledge that the other person intends to bring about such person’s own death; and
  • The clear intent that the other person bring about such person’s own death.

Reckless Homicide (Class D felony)

This is the reckless killing of another.  For example, a Nashville criminal attorney recalls the February 20, 2003, Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island caused by the recklessness of club owners and the guest band’s manager, resulting in 100 deaths.

Criminally Negligent Homicide (Class E felony)

This is defined as criminally negligent conduct that results in death.


Capital crimes are punishable by death or life imprisonment with or without the possibility of parole.  Lesser felony penalties includes:

Prison Term (years) Maximum Fines
A 15 – 60 $50,000
B 8 – 30 $25,000
C 3 – 15 $10,000
D 2 – 12 $5,000
E 1 – 6 $3,000


Can I claim self-defense? | Horst Law | (615) 259-9867





Self-defense. So, whether it’s in a bar fight, or if you’re in your home and a burglar enters, the law generally allows you to meet force with force. So what that means if, certainly, if I’m in a bar,…

Contact a Nashville murder defense attorney

A skilled Nashville criminal attorney may argue self-defense, lack of evidence, or violation of civil rights to counter any homicide charges.

For more information, contact a Nashville criminal lawyer with Horst Law, at .