A murder charge is one of the gravest offenses you can be charged with. If you are found guilty of this offense, you may be sentenced with a plethora of penalties such as jail time with or without parole. Homicides can be categorized in different ways, but one of the more popular classifications is 2nd-degree murder. It is important to understand the technicalities behind it so that you and your lawyer can prepare a proper defense.
What is Second Degree Murder?
Second-degree murder is defined as the intentional killing of a person that isn’t premeditated, planned, or done during “heat of passion”. It may also be due to dangerous conduct and evident lack of regard for human life. It is considered as the middle ground between voluntary manslaughter and first-degree murder.
Second-degree murder may be in different forms:
- Having the intent to induce “serious bodily harm”
- Having “depraved indifference” to the life of another person/persons
- Felony murder
Penalties and Sentencing for Second Degree Murder
There are many factors that affect which sentence a person will receive after being convicted of second-degree murder:
- The language of the law that specifies the penalty
- Aggravating factors such as the offender’s behavior and history that increase the severity of the sentence given to the accused.
- Mitigating factors that prove that a lighter sentence should be given to the defendant.
The sentence was given to those who get convicted of the crime usually takes the form of jail time ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment. However, the courts are normally given wide latitude to determine the penalties for this type of cases.
For instance, the federal statute for criminalizing second-degree murder dictates that those who are found guilty may be imprisoned for a number of years or for life. The vague wordings prompt some federal judges to consult the federal guidelines for sentencing murders to identify the correct punishment for a person convicted of this crime.
Possible Defenses for Committing Second Degree Murder
The 3 most common defenses used for committing second-degree murder are the following:
- Excusable homicide: Killing another person is lawful if done during the following instances: 1) The killing is done by accident. 2) The killing is done as a result of substantial or sudden provocation. 3) The killing occurred during sudden combat. The weapon used shouldn’t be dangerous. The killing wasn’t done in a cruel or unusual way.
- Justifiable homicide: Killing another person is considered as justifiable homicide if it was done because someone was trying to kill you or someone was attempting to commit a felony against you.
- Self-defense: This is also known as the justified use of deadly force.
Get the Help of an Experienced Criminal Lawyer to Handle Your Case
Proving your innocence is a complicated and demanding process that you should leave in the hands of only experienced and knowledgeable criminal lawyer. Get legal representation from a Broward Criminal Lawyer. The initial consultation is FREE. Call Broward Criminal Law today at (954) 462-1005 for a free no obligation consultation.