Being faced with a murder charge is undeniably a very serious and frightening position to be in. This kind of charge has so many ramifications for the accused. A long and tedious legal process that ensues after charges are filed could place a heavy toll on the relationships of the accused with his family, his friends, his professional peers, and his community in general. The thought of having to deal with severe punishment is enough to devastate anyone. If convicted, the accused could go to jail for a long period of time or for life and could even receive the death penalty.
A general definition of murder is “the willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another”. In the legal system, murder is classified as first-degree or second-degree.
The following circumstances may result in a first-degree murder charge:
- The killing was deliberate and premeditated – there was planning involved.
- The killing occurred while a felony is being committed (i.e. arson, rape, kidnapping, hostage-taking, hijacking).
- Weapons of mass destruction, bombs or explosive devices were involved.
On the other hand, the following could be construed as second-degree murder:
- The killing is not premeditated.
- The killing was a result of an individual’s dangerous conduct.
- The killing was committed in the “heat of passion”.
Murder is a Serious Crime
Punishment for murder varies from state to state, but penalties for First Degree murder is almost always harsher than for Second Degree murder. In addition, most states impose mandatory minimum sentences for this crime.
In a lot of states and under some federal laws, first-degree murder convictions carry either life imprisonment without parole or even death if aggravating factors are established. Second-degree murder could end in lengthy prison terms but those convicted may be eligible for parole.
Facing a Murder Charge?
Murder is a violent crime and harsh penalties await those who are found guilty. However, being charged does not mean guilt. There could be circumstances or evidence that could throw out such a charge. As this is a very serious charge, an individual accused of or being investigated for murder should seek legal counsel immediately. The legal process is so complex that it is best to work with a criminal defense lawyer who has solid and extensive experience representing people who have been charged with murder.
The Kestenbaum Law Group is committed to providing the best legal defense in fighting your murder charge. They will be by your side every step of the way, examining all angles of the case, investigating all evidence and working aggressively to protect your rights.
David Kestenbaum has experienced both sides of the court – as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. Being a prosecutor previously has provided him the skill to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution and use such to strengthen his client’s case. Mr. Kestenbaum’s resources include a private investigator, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and other specialists to assist in the defense. His professional relationship with police is also an advantage.
Over the last thirty years, Mr. Kestenbaum has been successful in winning cases for his clients or drastically reducing charges.