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, and evidence shows that steps were taken to cover up the crime.
First degree homicide is not an accident or an act of self-defense.
In addition to murder that is willful and carefully planned, there are other situations that may result in a charge of murder in the first degree.
If a murder is committed as a result of a felony crime, such as a botched robbery or burglary, or as a direct result from kidnapping, rape, or arson, the crime may be charged as murder in the first degree.
Second degree murder differs from first degree murder in the sense that the homicide committed was not planned or premeditated.
However, second degree murder is still intentional murder.
It is murder that occurs as a disregard for the sanctity of human life and is often to be considered on the borderline of murder in the first degree and what is referred to as voluntary manslaughter.
Voluntary manslaughter may best be defined as killing someone in a fit of rage or in the heat of the moment.
In voluntary manslaughter 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.
Of course, anyone charged with first or second degree homicide needs to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney.