Is there anything that strikes more fear into hearts than a first degree murder charge? If convicted of first degree murder, there are only one of two outcomes: the death penalty or life in prison without parole. When your life is hanging in the balance, proving intent, or lack thereof, is important.
Your best defense against a premeditated first degree murder charge is to prove that you did not intend to kill the person, their death was accidental, or they died as a result of self defense.
The elements of the crime of murder in the first degree (after deliberation) are:
You can also be charged with first degree murder if your actions exhibit an extreme indifference to the value of human life. For instance, if you conduct a drive by shooting and as a result someone you were not targeting is murdered. Or if you set a bomb in a public space and innocent bystanders are killed as a result. Actions such as these show a cold-blooded disregard for human life.
The elements of the crime of murder in the first degree (extreme indifference) are:
Second degree murder is when the act was not carried out after deliberation or it was not premeditated. The loss of life happened spontaneously as a result of a fight or conflict, or in “the heat of the moment”. The penalties for second degree murder vary from case to case. If it was a violent crime, second degree murder is a class 2 felony and can carry a prison sentence of up to 48 years. If it was not a violent crime, prison sentences can range from 8-24 years in prison in addition to 5 years of parole. If the murder occured during a heat of passion, a second degree murder charge can become a class 3 felony, with penalties ranging from 4-12 years in prison.
The elements of the crime of murder in the second degree are:
First and second degree murder charges are serious and delicate cases where every little detail could mean years of your life. You need someone who will comb through your case and find any flaws and fight to get you the best possible outcome. Don’t gamble with your life, call Chris Ponce immediately!