What’s The Difference Between First And Second Degree Murder?

crime scene with blood stain

The primary difference between the two has to do with intent.


Terms like “First Degree Murder”, “Felony Murder” and “Premeditated Murder” get thrown around on police dramas (often incorrectly!), but for the people watching, they’re just words. Words that don’t carry much weight, because they don’t mean anything. After all, isn’t murder just murder, plain and simple? You either killed someone, or you didn’t.


Surely murder is just murder, and we shouldn’t argue over details?


It sounds straightforward enough, but the law is never as simplified as that. By its very nature, the law is complex in order to cover every possible eventuality surrounding a specific crime. So no, murder is never just murder in Michigan. There are several degrees of murder (along with a number of other categories that we’ll save for another blog) but the two we’re going to focus on here are two of the most serious – First and Second Degree murder.


Yes, we know what you’re thinking – is there a kind of murder that isn’t serious? No, obviously not. All murder is serious, and all murder charges should be taken seriously. But from a punishment standpoint, some charges are more serious than others. And when it comes to First Degree Murder in Michigan, it’s about as serious as it gets!


First Degree Murder has the harshest possible penalties!


Under Michigan law, First Degree Murder requires premeditation. That means a prosecutor has to prove to the jury that a person thought out the murder beforehand, and intended to kill the victim. Anyone convicted of First Degree murder in Michigan is facing a mandatory penalty of life in prison, without the possibility of parole.


We want to point out here that while Michigan law doesn’t allow for the death penalty for any charge, it’s possible in certain cases, to charge a defendant under the Federal murder statute. Federal law does allow for the death penalty in certain very specific cases, like drug-related drive-by shootings, murder of a federal judge or an important executive official, and murdering a police officer.


Second Degree Murder is less harsh, but still extremely serious!


Second Degree Murder is a lesser charge than First Degree Murder, but it still carries the potential for severe punishment. The primary difference between the two is that in a Second Degree Murder case, the prosecution doesn’t have to prove that the person planned the killing in advance. Second Degree Murder is punishable by life in prison, or any number of years. However, the possibility of parole does exist.


Being accused of murder in Michigan is a big deal, and should be treated as such!


Being accused of murder is very serious! Whether it’s First or Second Degree Murder, or another homicide related charge like Assault with Intent to Commit Murder, or Felony Murder. Your best chance of a successful outcome is to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side from the very beginning, protecting your rights and ensuring that your case is handled properly and aggressively.


The highly skilled criminal defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have decades of experience protecting the people of Michigan accused of crimes, including murder. We have helped people accused of killing someone else, and we’ve been able to get successful results for our clients.. So if you or a loved one have been accused of murder or any serious felony in Michigan, call 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) today, and get help from someone who can make a difference! The right attorney is critical.


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