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Reckless homicide defined by ignoring obvious risks to others

The exact circumstances of a crime determine the selection of criminal charges in South Carolina. The intent and behavior of an individual accused of killing another person influence how a prosecutor applies a homicide charge. The term reckless homicide has been developed to describe deaths that arise from people who knowingly acted in an unsafe manner.

The law establishes recklessness by estimating whether an ordinary person would view the actions preceding the death as dangerous. A reckless act represents a conscious choice to deviate from the standards of care that individuals normally exercise toward each other.

The risks taken by an individual labeled as reckless would have no reasonable justification in cases of reckless homicide. The person's behavior allegedly demonstrates a disregard for the results of unsafe actions. Driving while intoxicated presents an example of reckless behavior that people should recognize as potentially harmful to others.

When a defense attorney represents a person accused of violent crimes, the attorney might challenge the prosecutor's opinion about what felonies may have been committed. A defense attorney might argue that the evidence only supports a lesser charge. A person confronted by criminal charges after a violent incident might want the advice of an attorney before making statements within the criminal justice system. After evaluating the evidence, an attorney may be able to give an opinion about the strength of the prosecutor's case. This information might allow the person to make a decision about how to enter a plea based on knowledge of rights and the chances of being acquitted at trial. If an individual decides that a plea bargain could be the best course, then the person's attorney may strive to negotiate a lenient deal with the prosecutor.

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 York County Bar Association South Caroline Bar NACDL South carolina association of criminal defense lawyers United states court of appeals | For the Fourth Circuit
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Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
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