Intentionally killing another person is a relatively rare crime. Quite naturally, a homicide conviction carries harsh penalties — although the severity is often dictated by the “degree” of the crime.

The most severe degree of homicide, known as first degree murder, can land you in prison for life. A first degree murder charge generally involves killing another person with premeditation, but it also includes situations like a homicide that occurs during the commission of felony arson, the killing of a police officer or guard, deaths that happen during kidnappings and domestic violence incidents, among other “aggravating” factors.

Sometimes, it’s possible to have first degree murder charges reduced to either second degree murder or even third degree, particularly if there’s unclear issues surrounding your intentions or the evidence against you is weak. A conviction for second degree murder only comes with up to 40 years in prison, while a third-degree murder comes with up to 25. That’s is why your defense attorney will often fight to get the charges reduced even before you consider going to trial.

It is a shock to know that you’re being accused of such a serious crime, but an accusation doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily going to go to prison. Your attorney can talk to you about different defensive strategies and how they may help you overcome this situation and minimize the penalties that you face. 

On our website, you can read more about the different degrees of murder charges, your criminal defense options and other important information you should know. Good help will go the distance in reducing the likelihood that you’ll face serious penalties.