Murder / Homicide
We understand you’re not a bad person, you may have been put in a bad situation and had to defend yourself or someone else. It might be a case of mistaken identity or as a result of an accident or misadventure.
Being charged with murder is the most serious of all criminal charges and if convicted is punishable by a term of life in prison, or potentially the death penalty.
First Degree Murder
If you have been charged with murder in Nevada there are many circumstances that can mitigate your case. Mitigating factors can include: “no significant history of prior criminal activity,” the murder was committed while the defendant was “under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance” or the defendant “acted under duress or under the domination of another person (NRS 200.035).” To be convicted of first degree murder the onus is on the prosecutor to prove that the defendant killed willfully, deliberately and with premeditation. The defendant may support an argument mitigating the charge with evidence. However, he or she is not required to do so.
“Felony murder” is a first degree murder charge that can be charged in cases where a person was killed unintentionally while the defendant was committing or attempting to commit an unlawful act such as rape, burglary, arson, kidnapping, robbery, child abuse, elder abuse, or sexual abuse of a child.
Second Degree Murder
Second-degree murder is defined as killing a person intentionally with malice aforethought, but it is not planned in advance.
A second-degree murder charge in Nevada, requires no deliberation but the death was a direct result of the defendant behaving so recklessly that the death was foreseeable. For example, playing Russian Roulette with a loaded revolver.
Murder vs Manslaughter
Voluntary Manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of a person without malice whether expressed or implied and without any mixture of deliberation.
A vital distinction between murder and voluntary manslaughter is premeditation. To be charged with voluntary manslaughter the killing must have occurred immediately upon the suspect being provoked in a sudden, heated and violent impulse. The provocation has to be sufficient enough to make the impulse irresistible or “involuntary” without any foresight or due caution.
If more than few seconds passes between provocation and the killing a jury may decide that the person who is charged with committing the crime had time to calm down during which time they had sufficient mental ability to premeditate the killing.
Involuntary manslaughter refers to cases of negligent homicide. Negligent homicide is when a person was killed unintentionally during the course of some unlawful act or a lawful act where the suspect’s negligence led to the fatality. Involuntary manslaughter is a category D felony in Nevada and is punished much less severely with a maximum prison term of up to four years (NRS 200.090).
Penalties for Murder
Whether someone is charged with first degree murder, second degree murder or manslaughter makes a big difference in the type of sentencing that person receives. In the state of Nevada the difference between first degree and second degree murder could be a matter of a life sentence (with or without parole) or the death penalty.
The best way for your attorney to defend you against a murder charge is to show that either you killed the other person in self-defense or you did not truly intend to commit an illegal act of violence.
Remember being charged with murder is not a conviction. If you or a loved one is facing any type of murder charge in Nevada, you need an experienced criminal attorney. We will take the time to explain your options, make sure you understand your rights and challenge the charges at every stage of the process, call 702-202-0500 or fill out our contact form.