Crime Overview Second Degree Murder

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Among the more than 1.4 million violent crimes reported annually in America, 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. Sometimes the term third-degree murder is also used, but third-degree murder is generally synonymous with involuntary manslaughter.

Second-degree murder, or murder in the second degree, is the crime of murdering in "the heat of passion" which results from intense anger, fear, rage, or terror. Second-degree murder can also be defined as a death that resulted from an assault that is likely to be deadly. This differs from first-degree murder, where the killing was intentional, premeditated and vicious. Second-degree murder is a crime that falls in between first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

In order to prove second-degree murder, the prosecution must produce evidence that the alleged criminal committed the homicide with malice. In the matter of second-degree murder, the presence of malice does not call for the intent to cause death, and the issue of premeditation does not have to be proven.

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

A second-degree murder conviction warrants a penalty of a mandatory life sentence in prison without the possibility for parole for 11-25 years. The eligibility of parole is chosen by the judge presiding over the case at the time of sentencing.

If you have been accused of second-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.

If you have been arrested for second-degree murder, you should request an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be familiar with second-degree murder laws of the state in which the crime took place, and will have experience arguing second-degree murder cases in trial. Moreover, they will be familiar with local court customs and procedures, and also have knowledge of not only the applicable statutes and precedents surrounding your case, but also of the prosecutor's office and political climate in your area.

If you are suing a convicted murderer for damages resulting from second-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.

To locate a criminal lawyer or attorney in your area, visit the American Bar Association, The ABA features a lawyer locater, which can help you quickly and easily find a criminal attorney.