In the United States, murder is considered one of the most heinous crimes possible. If you have been charged with any degree of murder, it is essential that you understand the charges against you. It is also imperative that you have powerful legal representation that knows the laws governing murder charges and is experienced in providing aggressive and thorough representation of their clients. The Cochran Firm Criminal Defense attorneys are among the best and most successful in the nation at representing clients accused of murder.There are different degrees of murder:

  • First degree murder
  • Second degree murder
  • Third degree murder
  • Lying in wait

The penalties for each type of murder vary from one another and according to the circumstances surrounding each individual case.

First Degree Murder

First degree murder is murder that is committed with intent and malice aforethought. Malice aforethought is prior intent to kill the victim. To receive conviction for first degree murder, the prosecutor must prove that there was premeditated intention and that the murder was planned. The sentence for first degree murder is generally a term of life in prison.

Second Degree Murder

Second degree murder is intentional, but it is not premeditated. Sentencing for second degree murder varies from one state to the next, so it is imperative for anyone accused to seek legal representation from a law firm that is knowledgeable and experienced with the laws governing the locale you live in. The Cochran Firm Criminal Defense teams have offices nationwide and their successful representation of past clients is reputed throughout the country.

Third Degree Murder

The statutes governing third degree murder also vary from state to state. In general, any homicide committed with malicious intention to cause bodily harm but not necessarily death can be classified as third degree murder. Distinguishing third degree murder from manslaughter can be tricky, but an example might be if one person strikes another multiple times and with significant brutality during an altercation, and the struck person dies as a result of brain hemorrhage or internal injuries secondary to the blows, resulting in a charge of third degree murder, using the severity of the attack as evidence of malice.  In contrast, a person who strikes another only once in a fit of rage, but the struck person still dies as a result, may only be accused of voluntary manslaughter.

Murder by Lying In Wait

The act of lying in wait defines a person waiting and watching while concealed in an effort to ambush the victim. This act shows deliberation and premeditation. In order for an act to be considered murder by lying in wait, there must be intentional bodily harm inflicted with high probability that death will result. It must also show a wanton disregard for human life. The prosecution must still prove malice aforethought in a murder by lying in wait case.

A conviction for murder in any degree affects the rest of your life and your reputation for as long as you may live. If you have been charged with any form of murder, you must speak with legal representation that is aggressive and has the resources to successfully and ambitiously defend you against any charges that have been, or may be filed against you. Please do not hesitate to contactThe Cochran Firm Criminal Defense team in your area.