Fighting Murder Charges in St. Louis, MO
Understanding the Difference Between 1st & 2nd Degree Murder
Although most people refer to the act of killing another human being as murder, it is important to understand that there are several different forms of homicide-including murder, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and justifiable homicide. This means that not all killings are punishable under the law. In fact, the difference between a death sentence and your freedom could be as simple as your state of mind at the time of the incident.
If you had been accused of committing murder, for example, the state would need to prove that you had knowingly caused the death of another person-typically under premeditated circumstances. Should they be unable to do so, the charges against you would likely be reduced manslaughter. For this reason, the St. Louis criminal defense attorney at the Sumner Law Group, LLC encourages you to learn more about the scope of Missouri's homicide laws, including the difference between first and second degree murder:
Definition of First Degree Murder
- According to Missouri Code §565.020, one could be charged with murder in the first degree if they have "knowingly cause[d] the death of another person after deliberation upon the matter." This means that the state must be able to prove that the act was premeditated.
Definition of Second Degree Murder
- According to Missouri Code §565.021, one could be charged with murder in the second degree if they have "knowingly cause[d] the death of another person or, with the purpose of causing physical injury to another person, causes the death of another person."
In some cases, one could also be charged with murder in the second degree if they have inadvertently caused the death of another person while a) committing, or attempting to commit, a felony or b) fleeing from the perpetration of a felony. Although it may not have been premeditated or even intentional, the law still regards this criminal act as murder. For this reason, you should ensure that you adequately protected by enlisting the help of an aggressive criminal defense lawyer.
What are the legal penalties for murder in Missouri?
Since murder is regarded as the most serious of all crimes in the state of Missouri, the penalties that are imposed on convicted offenders are particularly harsh. In fact, one could be sentenced to death if they are found guilty of murder in the first degree. For this reason, you should not hesitate to equip yourself with a solid defense if you have been accused of committing such a crime. Without the experienced guidance of a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer, you could be subjected to the following penalties:
Penalties for First Degree Murder
- Murder in the first degree is considered to be a Class A felony, which is punishable by death or imprisonment for life without eligibility for probation or parole.
Penalties for Second Degree Murder
- Murder in the second degree is considered to be a Class A felony, which is punishable by 10-30 years in prison or imprisonment for life without eligibility for probation or parole.
Discuss Your Case with a St. Louis Criminal Defense Attorney for Free
Are you facing murder charges in Missouri? If so, you have no time to waste. Take the first step today by discussing your case with the St. Louis criminal defense lawyer at Sumner Law Group, LLC. Your initial consultation is free when you contact the firm at (314) 485-9948 or submit a case evaluation form online, so there is no reason why you should wait any longer to enlist the professional help that you will need. Call today to learn more!