Colorado Murder Defense Lawyers

Murder refers to the unlawful killing of another human being. Distinct from other forms of homicide, such as manslaughter, murder involves malice and aforethought. Simply put, manslaughter charges do not necessitate premeditation; murder is considered more premeditated. Murder is taken very seriously, and a murder conviction could lead to a life sentence in prison – even the death penalty. If you're facing charges, now is the time to find a defense attorney.

First-Degree Murder: Key Elements

Most states differentiate between first, second, and sometimes third-degree murder. Generally speaking, first-degree murder includes three integral elements:

  • Willfulness
  • Deliberation
  • Premeditation

Willfulness refers to the perpetrator's specific intention to kill another person. Unlike manslaughter, murder charges assume that the defendant wanted to take the life of another person. Interestingly, this intention does not have to be directed towards the actual victim. If the killer takes the life of someone other than he/she intended, the crime could still be charged as first-degree murder.

Deliberation and premeditation is determined from case to case. Although premeditation may imply a great deal of time between the intent to kill and the action, premeditation can simply refer to the amount of time it took the killer to consciously decide to commit murder. Malicious aforethought refers to the killer's evil intentions. That is, the killer intended to do wrong and willfully committed the crime. In some situations, malice and aforethought simply refers to the killer's premeditative intentions. It may also refer to an indifference towards human life leading to murder.

Enumerated first-degree murder?

Enumerated first-degree murder usually refers to the killing of a child via unreasonable force. Often, enumerated first-degree murder is associated or related to repeated domestic violence. In some situations, enumerated first-degree murder refers to the killing of a police officer or homicides that occur in the course of another crime, such as rape, arson, or burglary. Enumerated first-degree murder does not necessarily involve deliberation and premeditation.

Second-Degree Murder in Colorado

Second-degree murder is different than first degree in that it is impulsive. Unlike first-degree murder, second-degree murder does not involve premeditation, although it does require malicious aforethought. Unlike first-degree murder, this classification of murder may involve acts that were intended to inflict grievous bodily harm and demonstrate an attitude of triviality towards human life. These types of killings often happen in the heat of an argument or other similar situation.

Second-degree murder may also be the result of illegal acts committed with the intention of hurting someone. For example, if an individual hits his neighbor with a heavy object in the middle of a heated argument and accidentally causes the neighbor's death, he may be charged with second-degree murder. In this situation, the perpetrator may not have wanted to kill his neighbor, but he did intend to inflict physical harm.

Just like first-degree murder, second-degree murder charges may result from an extreme indifference towards human life. Although depraved indifference may mean different things in different states or jurisdictions, it generally refers to an unrealistic carelessness towards other people. If an enraged motorist randomly drives her car into a crowd of people, she may be charged with second-degree murder for her blatant disregard of human life.

Have you been accused of murder?

If you are facing murder allegations, we urge you to speak to an attorney from our firm as soon as possible. Finding the right attorney can make or break your criminal defense case. We are experienced in a wide variety of criminal defense practice areas and ready to fight for your freedom in court with aggression and enthusiasm. The sooner you schedule a case consultation, the faster our defense lawyers can begin assembling an effective case strategy to keep you out of prison. Call today!