First degree murder is often discussed when someone unlawfully kills someone else. The murder is premeditated and planned. This act is committed while the defendant waits for the victim instead of simply killing the victim on the spur of the moment without any forethought involved. If there is a death that occurs during a felony that is being committed, such as an arson, kidnapping or burglary, then first degree murder is often attached. There are three elements that must be present during first degree murder. One is that there is a willfulness to commit the crime. The person has to know what the crime will entail and the repercussions of being caught. Deliberation and premeditation are also elements of first degree murder. Malice aforethought is sometimes a requirement when seeking a first degree murder charge This is sometimes shown separately
A first degree murder must have intent. It might be that the defendant simply wants to kill with the wrong victim being killed in the act instead of the person that the defendant targets. Deliberation and premeditation are often looked at with each murder charge on an individual basis. There needs to be time for the defendant to generate a thought and act on that thought for the murder to occur. The thought process can be one that is quick, or it could be one that is planned for months in advance of the actual crime. Malice aforethought is the evil disposition or a planned purpose to end the life of another. There are a few killings that are classified as first degree even if the required elements are not present. Killing a child with unreasonable force and murdering a police officer are examples.
Examples Of Murder In The First Degree
There are numerous examples to look at when learning about murder in the first degree. If someone develops a plot to go to someone else’s home and shoot that person, then murder is involved. Another example would be if a spouse goes home to see that the other spouse is in bed with someone else. When the person who was with the spouse in bed goes home, the initial spouse kills that person. In the instance of anther crime being involved with first degree murder, an example would be if the defendant sets fire to a home with someone else inside. The intent might not be to kill that person, but since the person was in the home and died because of the fire, then first degree murder is a charge that is attached to arson.
Defenses For First Degree Murder
First degree murder is often at the top of the list of felonies that can be committed in a state. An NYC criminal lawyer can help the defendant in understanding the charges and the possible punishments that are involved. One of the common defenses that is used is that the defendant didn’t commit the crime in the first place. Another is that the defendant was forced to commit the murder. The defendant could admit to killing someone but did not plan the murder and committed the crime on the spur of the moment. Some defendants will claim that the crime was committed in self defense. The attorney will look at the proof for the defense before presenting the case to the court.