Homicide is the act of taking someone’s life through murder.
However, there are different levels and degrees of homicide and the two most prevalent forms of homicide are First and Second degree homicide.
First degree homicide occurs when someone carefully plans out a murder. This type of crime does not occur as an accident or as an act of self-defense.
First degree murder is also premeditated. The murder is clearly thought out in advance and evidence shows that there were steps taken to cover up the crime as well.
In addition to first degree murder resulting from a willful and carefully planned act, there are other situations that may result in a charge of first degree murder.
If a murder is committed as a result of a felony crime, such as a botched robbery or burglary, kidnapping, rape, or arson, the crime may be charged as murder in the first degree.
Second degree murder differs from first degree murder in that the homicide committed was not planned or premeditated.
However, second degree murder is intentional murder that occurs as a disregard for the sanctity of human life. It is often considered on the borderline of murder in the first degree or voluntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter may best be defined as killing someone in a fit of rage or in the heat of the moment.
In these cases, the defendant had no prior reason or incentive to commit murder. Something transpired causing the person to become emotionally upset, angry, lose control or enraged and commit murder.
If you have been charged with murder in the first or second degree, it is imperative that you seek the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.