Have You Been Charged With Homicide In Kentucky?

At Mashni Law Criminal Defense, we comprehend the profound implications of facing a homicide charge in Kentucky. Such charges not only carry the weight of severe legal penalties but also bring about an emotional and social toll on the accused and their families. In Kentucky, homicide offenses are vigorously prosecuted, and the consequences can range from extensive prison sentences to the most severe penalty of all—capital punishment. Our legal team recognizes the immense responsibility of defending against homicide charges and is dedicated to offering a defense that is both compassionate and robust. We meticulously analyze every facet of your case, from the evidence presented to the circumstances surrounding the incident, ensuring that your rights are zealously protected throughout the legal process.

Don't allow a homicide charge to dictate the course of your future without a fight. Call our office or schedule a free case evaluation today, and place your trust in Mashni Law Criminal Defense. Together, we'll pursue every avenue to safeguard your freedom and your future.

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Homicide is defined in Kentucky Revised Statutes Sections 507.050 and 507.060.

Reckless homicide occurs when a person recklessly causes the death of another person. Vehicular homicide occurs when a person causes the death of another person by operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or other substance which impairs driving ability.


Murder (an aggravated form of homicide)




Substance which impairs driving ability as applicable to the vehicular homicide statute is defined in KRS §189A.010. Alcohol is one such substance. The other listed substances are: any Schedule I controlled substance except marijuana, alprazolam, amphetamine, buprenorphine, butalbital, carisoprodol, cocaine, diazepam, hydrocodone, meprobamate, methadone, methamphetamine, oxycodone, promethazine, propoxyphene, and zolpidem.


Reckless Homicide is a Class D felony, and therefore carries a penalty of between one- and five-years’ incarceration.

Vehicular Homicide is a Class B felony, and therefore carries a penalty of between 10- and 20-years’ incarceration.


Reckless Homicide 

A reckless homicide conviction can be made in one of two ways: the straight theory and the imperfect self-defense theory. Under the straight theory, the accused killed a person but lacked the specific intent to kill, instead failing to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his actions could cause the victim’s death. Com. v. Hasch, 421 S.W.3d 349 (Ky .2013). A person may also be guilty of reckless homicide if he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his conduct will result in the death of another. Elliott v. Com., 276 S.W.2d 416 (Ky. 1998).

Under the imperfect self-defense theory, it does not matter whether the defendant had the specific intent to kill. In this case, the defendant would have acted under the actual but mistaken belief that circumstances existing at that time required that he use physical or deadly force to protect himself, failing to perceive the substantial and unjustifiable risk that such belief was mistakenly held. Saylor v. Com., 144 S.W.3d 812 (Ky. 2004).

Under either theory, a person must have the mental capability if perceiving the danger that his conduct will result in the victim’s death. If the accused does not have the mental capability to perceive this, his failure cannot form the basis for criminal liability. Robinson v. Com., 569 S.W.2d 183 (Ky.App. 1978).

Vehicular Homicide is a relatively new statute, having been enacted in the 2023 legislative session. There are currently no cases citing to this statute.


The most common defenses to homicide are self-defense, defense of another, lack of voluntary actions or conduct on the part of the defendant, and insanity.

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