The Difference Between First and Second Degree Murder

A murder charge is truly one of the most serious offenses anyone can be charged with. If you are found guilty of murder, you could face a host of serious and frightening penalties, including a substantial amount of jail time with or without the possibility of parole. Homicides in Arizona can be classified in a variety of ways, but two of the more well-known classifications are first degree and second degree murder. If you or a loved one has been charged with murder, then it is important to understand the differences between these classifications so that you and a trusted Phoenix murder attorney can begin to build your defense.

First Degree Murder

In Arizona, the term “first degree murder” refers to a person who knows that his or her conduct will result in the death of another person. This can also be understood to mean “premeditated murder,” or the intentional planning and carrying out of another person’s death. For this reason, murder committed by acts like strangulation, poisoning, or lying in wait are automatically treated as first degree murders because they involve deliberation on the part of the individual being charged. When it comes to a charge as serious as this, the minimum penalty is twenty-five years to life without possibility of parole . The maximum sentence is the death penalty.

Second Degree Murder

As opposed to first degree murder, second degree murder refers to a murder that is not premeditated or planned in advance. An experienced Phoenix murder attorney will explain that instances of extreme indifference to human life generally result in a second degree murder charge; for example, the reckless engagement of activities which create a high risk of death fits into the second degree murder guidelines if someone is inadvertently killed as a result of these activities. The penalties for second degree murder vary, but the minimum sentence is ten years minimum jail time, or twenty-two maximum without early release.

Work with Someone You Trust

As you can imagine, a murder charge is a serious offense and can dramatically impact your future. Therefore, it makes sense to work with a qualified and experienced Phoenix murder attorney. If you are charged with murder, enlist the help of a Phoenix criminal defense attorney you can trust. Work with someone who has had experience dealing with these types of cases because it’s in your best interest to hire an attorney who will work diligently towards getting your charges reduced or even dismissed – but that’s not all. Choose a Phoenix criminal defense attorney who can and will provide you with the tools you need to change your life. Call Guy Brown today at 602-396-7114.