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Second Degree Murder

Any unplanned, non-premediated, intentional killing or death of another person caused by reckless disregard for human life is defined as second-degree murder in the State of Michigan. These charges are extremely serious and carry devastating penalties that could shift the trajectory of a person’s life indefinitely. The stakes are incredibly high as a conviction could mean decades or even life imprisonment depending on the judge’s sentencing.

Mere allegations of second-degree murder could potentially uproot a person’s professional and personal standing in the community. That is why it’s vital any person charged with second-degree murder retain a skilled Michigan murder defense attorney as soon as possible. Severe violent crime cases are incredibly complex, so we highly recommend you seek an attorney who has vast homicide defense experience. With the right defense, your lawyer can cast doubt on the prosecution’s argument and ultimately secure reduced or dismissed charges for your case.

Second Degree Murder Lawyer, Bloomfield Hills MI

The sooner you retain legal representation, the better your chances are of avoiding criminal penalties. Get in contact with Dallo Law, P.C. if you’ve been accused or arrested for second-degree murder or any other violent crime. Attorney Dallo and his team will utilize their ample resources, extensive knowledge, and prior experience to build a defense that pokes holes in the prosecution’s argument. Don’t wait another moment to protect your freedom and call Dallo Law, P.C..

To speak to a qualified Michigan defense attorney, call Dallo Law, P.C. at (248) 283-7000 or submit an online contact form. Dallo Law, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Novi, Farmington Hills, Madison Heights, New Baltimore, Southfield, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Warren, Sterling Heights, Mount Clemens, Roseville, Eastpointe, Romeo, Clinton Township, Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak, and Clarkston.

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What is the Definition of Second Degree Murder?

Most people are familiar with first-degree murder, which is the intentional premediated killing of another person. Any other murder offense not outlined under the Michigan Statutes without premeditation is charged as second-degree murder. The crime is located under the Michigan Penal Code Section 750.317 as:

“All other kinds of murder [other than first degree murder] shall be murder of the second degree, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life, or any term of years, in the discretion of the court trying the same.”

In order to convict, the prosecution will have to prove the following elements:

  • A death occurred; and
  • It was caused by the defendant’s actions; and
  • The defendant committed the act with malice and without justification

Malice is defined as the intent to kill, cause great bodily harm, or act in wanton or willful disregard of the likelihood that the natural tendency of such behavior could cause serious bodily harm or death. People v Henderson, 306 Mich App 1, 9; 854 NW2d 234 (2014). Malicious actions can be inferred from evidence that the defendant intentionally set a motion in force that was likely to result in serious bodily harm or death. People v Reeves, 202 Mich App 706, 712; 510 NW2d 198 (1993).

For example, if a person maliciously causes a carbon monoxide leak in another persons’ home, then that would be seen as setting a malicious force in motion to commit murder.

It’s important to remember that a second-degree murder charge can be reclassified and reduced to voluntary manslaughter. In order to do this, the defendant and their defense team will have to prove the crime was committed out of passion or anger brought about by adequate cause and before the individual had reasonable time to cool off.

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What is the Penalty for Second Degree Murder?

The penalties for second-degree murder ultimately rest on the court. According to Section 750.317, any person convicted of second-degree murder will be “punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life, or any term of years, in the discretion of the court trying the same.” Meaning the judge will make the final decision for sentencing if the defendant is convicted of the crime as there is no minimum or maximum guidelines.

As you can see from the statutes, there is no definite sentence you’ll receive if you’re convicted of second-degree murder. Some defendants face decades in prison and others are sentenced to life imprisonment depending on the facts of the case. If you want to avoid imprisonment and any other criminal penalties, we highly encourage you to contact an experienced attorney like the legal team at Dallo Law, P.C..

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First Degree Murder Vs Second Degree Murder

While both crimes are a type of homicide, there is a stark difference between first-degree and second-degree murder under Michigan law. Any non-premeditated and unplanned acts of murder are classified as second-degree murder in the Michigan statutes. A second-degree murder can be intentional, but not premeditated—meaning the defendant commits the killing while in a severe emotional state where they were unable to cool down.

A first-degree murder offense, on the other hand, is not only intentional but premeditated. The defendant is guilty of the crime if they killed another person by lying in wait, by means of poison, or any other act that demonstrates the action was deliberate and premeditated. It’s also important to note that premeditation does not have to be a lengthy process. The defendant must measure and evaluate the major facets of the choice or problem and their final choice was not influenced by a powerful emotional state. Although this may sound like a drawn-out reflection, often premeditation can occur in a span of a few seconds.

Section 750.316 of the Michigan Penal Code goes on to state that committing the act of murder during certain felony offenses such as arson or robbery can constitute as a first-degree murder charge. That also includes the intentional taking of the life of a peace or corrections officer while they are performing their lawful duties.

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Additional Resources

FBI Homicide Statistics for Michigan – Visit the official website for the Uniform Crime Reporting program, which is a federally funded program created to keep track of crime trends throughout the United States. Access the site to read data and statistics for homicide and other violent offenses in Michigan by city.

Second Degree Murder | Michigan Statutes – Visit the official website for the Michigan Statutes to read their laws explaining second-degree murder offenses and other homicide crimes in Michigan. Access the site to read up the elements of the crime, penalties, and use their navigational tool to peruse the rest of Act 328 of 1931, which illustrates homicide offenses in the State of Michigan.

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Michigan Homicide Defense Lawyer | Second-Degree Murder

If you or someone you know has been accused of second-degree murder or any other crime, contact Dallo Law, P.C.. Attorney Dallo and his legal team are experienced at handling such high-stakes cases like second or first-degree murder. He has the skills, resources, and fervor needed to formulate a thorough and effective defense so you can receive the best possible outcome for your case.

To speak to a qualified attorney, call our offices now at (248) 283-7000. Dallo Law, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area.

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