In the criminal justice system, murder is one of the most serious charges. A type of homicide, murder is the intentional, often premeditated taking of a human life without justification or excuse. Murder convictions often bring life in prison or the death penalty.

If you are facing murder charges, connect with a criminal defense attorney. Simply fill out the free online evaluation form on this page or call 877-445-1059 to arrange your no-obligation consultation.

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Murder Defined

Murder charges are broken up into two classes, or degrees.:

    First-degree murder: Defined in most states as an unlawful killing that was premeditated and planned. Most states also follow the “felony murder rule,” which means a person commits first-degree murder if a death is the result of a violent felony, including arson, burglary, kidnapping, rape and robbery.

    Second-degree murder: Defined as an intentional killing that is not premeditated, planned or committed in a “heat of passion.” The crime is also considered second-degree murder if the killing was the result of a dangerous action, and there was a lack of concern for life. Typically second-degree murder is considered the charge between first-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

Murder Sentences

Punishment for murder typically carries a long prison sentence. Sentences may include a stipulation of no parole, or that a majority of the sentence must be served before parole is considered. In states that have capital punishment, it is normally reserved for the most heinous crimes, including murder.

Find a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Connect with a criminal defense attorney to schedule a free, no obligation consultation today. With the help of an attorney, you can learn more about the charges you may be facing and get advice on how to handle your case. Total Criminal Defense can connect you with a local lawyer ‒ just call 877-445-1059 or fill out a free online evaluation form to get in touch with a defense lawyer near you.

The above summary of murder is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. For the latest information on murder laws and penalties, speak to a criminal defense attorney in your area.