One of, if not the most severe crime to be charged with, is murder. Murder is a criminal act that is classified as the unlawful, illegal, premature, and purposeful termination of the life belonging to an individual(s) at the hands of another individual(s). Within the scope of Murder, a variety of classifications exist within the legal qualification of activity and events under judicial review in the investigation of such a case. Furthermore, a variety of additional qualifications with regard to the premature termination of the life of an individual at the hands of another; these qualifications may exist in lieu of a Murder charge or conviction.
Any criminal lawyer will tell you that murder is taken very seriously in the United States and an accusation of murder must be handled delicately. The punishments for murder are harsh and grave.
The laws of this nation govern that someone accused of murder or a similar crime is innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, it is the job of the prosecution to show an accused party’s guilt of murder and the accused to provide evidence to the contrary. To properly defend oneself if charged with murder, a professional and aggressive criminal lawyer must be employed. It is important to hire an attorney who will fight tirelessly on your behalf and commit 100 percent to your case.
Degrees of Murder and Manslaughter
Within a Murder charge, various degrees exist with regard to the classification of the event that has taken place. Typically, Murder charges will involve the element of forethought, planning, and malice of forethought; conversely, events that involve the premature
First Degree Murder
First Degree Murder is classified as the premeditated, purposeful, illegal, and deliberate termination of life – or lives – belonging to another individual or individuals; this action takes place at the hands of another individual. This type ofMurder is considered a crime within the justice system, which can result in the most severe penalties; this is due to the fact that it is considered to be an irrevocable act not only affecting the victim, but the victim’s friends, family, and loved ones, as well.
Second Degree Murder
Second Degree Murder is classified as the premeditated, purposeful, illegal, and deliberate termination of a life – or lives – belonging to another individual or individuals. However, the individual victim who suffered death was presumably not the intended target of the individual suspected of the act of killing; although the killing took place with malice of forethought, deliberation, and planning, the individual killed was not the individual intended to be killed by the suspect.
Second Degree Murders are accidental deaths that are analogous to the intent and premeditation latent in First Degree Murder charges; yet, in the event that an individual wished to murder an individual – and while doing so – caused the murder of another, unrelated individual.
Manslaughter charges cover any criminal killings which are not considered murder. A killing that lacks premeditation or malice and occurs as the result of a heat of passion is considered manslaughter. Background Murder charges require an actus reus and men’s rea of the killer. These Latin terms mean “guilty act” and “guilty mind,” respectively. The actus reus and mens rea must be more grave in order to sustain a murder charge. Manslaughter charges serve to recognize instances where there are mitigating circumstances in the killing which prevent the prosecution from presenting murder charges or obtaining convictions in the event that it has also tried the defendant for manslaughter.
Manslaughter includes the following:
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- Involuntary Manslaughter
- Misdemeanor Manslaughter
- Vehicular Manslaughter
Vehicular manslaughter is also known as DUI manslaughter. It is a special circumstance of involuntary manslaughter which aims to punish individuals who engage in drunk driving and kill a person while driving under the influence. It is considered involuntary manslaughter because driving a motor vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or any controlled substance is considered a negligent act. Any action which occurs, as a result, is therefore also considered a negligent act.
Voluntary Manslaughter is defined as the accidental termination of a life – or lives – belonging to another individual or individuals. However, Voluntary Manslaughter and murder differ in the absence of forethought, malice, or premeditation with regard to their respective charges.
Crimes of passion, which are typical in Voluntary Manslaughter cases, are defined as crimes that take place with violent – or criminal – intent; yet the nature of these crimes is impulsive and oftentimes retain neither planning, deliberation, nor the intent to commit murder.
Involuntary Manslaughter is defined as a type of manslaughter, which results in the untimely death of an individual as a result of the actions of another individual. Involuntary Manslaughter can be classified as crimes that retain neither planning, deliberation, nor the intent to commit murder; Involuntary Manslaughter retains the least amount of culpability with regard to any manslaughter or murder charge as a result of the accidental or non-deliberate nature of the crime.
Penalties For Murder
Murder is considered a violent crime in which someone’s life or multiple lives are lost. The consequences for a murder conviction are very serious and can drastically alter the rest of your life. Murder convictions may result in a prison sentence and even the death penalty. Consequences can include a combination of the following:
- Costly fines
- Probationary periods
- Mandatory jail time
- The death penalty, in some U.S. jurisdictions
Oftentimes, the FBI will invest energy and manpower to make sure violent crimes, like murder, are stopped. If they cannot be prevented, the FBI will help authorities punish the accused to the fullest extent. If you have been charged with murder, you will need someone on your side, to defend your rights. You will need an honest and reliable criminal lawyer.
Defending Murder Charges
Often times a criminal lawyer can provide evidence and witness testimonies that defend the innocence of their client. A criminal lawyer can also help reduce the penalties and will provide you with the defense you need and deserve.
If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged with murder, you should talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The sooner a defense attorney can begin an investigation, the better your chances will be.
Contact us today to speak with an attorney about a murder charge. Our network of criminal lawyers treats every client with respect and will fight to protect your rights every step of the way.