Crime Overview First Degree Murder

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In 2006, more than 1.4 million violent crimes were reported across the United States, and unfortunately, thousands more go unreported each year. Among the more than 1.4 million violent crimes reported each year, roughly 20,000 are murders. Murder is the crime of killing another person deliberately and not in self-defense or with any other extenuating circumstance recognized by the law.

There are two degrees of murder, first-degree murder and second-degree murder. Involuntary manslaughter is sometimes referred to as "third-degree murder."

First-degree murder, also called "cold-blooded" murder, is murder that is carried out with the planned and deliberate intention of killing somebody. In other words, the murderer in this instance would have made a conscious decision to kill the victim. It is also described as a murder that is premeditated, and extremely cruel and violent, and that would have caused extreme suffering to the victim compared to other means of homicide.

Murder in the first-degree can also be determined by the way in which the victim was killed. Some states include homicide by poison, "lying in wait" and torture as grounds for a first-degree murder conviction. A killing that is done with a deadly weapon can prove the presence of malice, which is also necessary in order to secure a first-degree murder conviction.

In one high profile first-degree murder case, an individual is believed to have strategically planned the murder of a woman and unborn child, by purchasing a fishing boat and an 80-pound bag of cement a few weeks before the murder for the purpose of disposing of the bodies. Those findings provided evidence of both premeditation and malicious intent.

State and federal laws regarding murder are the most complex of any criminal laws. The classifications of offenses are complex, but are often divided into several categories based on severity. Because of this, the punishment for first-degree murder varies greatly from state to state and more importantly, from case to case. The severity of the punishment will also depend on a wide variety of factors.

Any kind of first-degree murder has the possibility of being punishable by life imprisonment without parole, or by the death penalty, if the state in which the offender was convicted allows capital punishment.

If you are suing a convicted murderer for damages resulting from first-degree murder, you should hire a civil lawyer or attorney. If the person was not convicted and you still want to sue for damages, you should still hire a civil lawyer or attorney.

If you have been accused of first-degree murder, whether you are guilty or not, you will need to hire a criminal lawyer or attorney. Criminal lawyers and attorneys represent individuals who have been charged with crimes by arguing their cases in courts of law. Contact a private criminal lawyer or attorney as soon as possible after your arrest, in order to ensure that your rights are upheld throughout the legal process. Your attorney will advise you on the best course of action, given the circumstances surrounding your crime and your arrest. Your attorney will compile all of the evidence, witness testimony and facts of the case in order to construct the best defense when you go to trial.

When searching for a criminal lawyer or attorney, visit the American Bar Association, and access the lawyer locater. This tool can help you locate a criminal lawyer or attorney quickly. Access to the lawyer locater and the website is absolutely free.

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