Michigan separates murder into two degrees: first- and second-degree. First-degree murder is the more severe of the two. It is punishable by imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.
What Is First Degree Murder?
Under MCL 750.316, there are several ways a person can be charged with first-degree murder. First, they may be accused of the premeditated killing of another person.
For the Prosecutor to Prove That the Defendant Willfully and Deliberately Took Someone Else’s Life, They Must Show That:
- The defendant's actions caused the other person's death;
- The defendant intended to kill the other person;
- The defendant planned the killing; for instance, they:
- Intended to take the other person by surprise (lying in wait), or
- Knowingly gave the other person a substance that caused death (poisoning);
- The defendant thought about the killing before carrying it out; and
- The defendant had no lawfully justifiable reason to take the other person's life.
First-degree murder charges can also arise when they take the life of a police or corrections officer while that individual was performing their lawful duties.
What Is Felony Murder?
Another way a person could be accused of first-degree murder in Michigan is if they took someone's life while committing a felony (referred to as felony murder).
The Prosecutor Must Prove That the Defendant:
- Caused another person's death;
- Intended to kill or cause great bodily harm or engaged in conduct very likely to lead to such a result;
- Was committing, attempting to commit, or aiding in committing:
- First-, second-, or third-degree criminal sexual conduct (sexual assault)
- First-degree child abuse,
- A major controlled substance offense,
- Breaking and entering of a dwelling,
- First- or second-degree home invasion,
- First- or second-degree vulnerable adult abuse,
- Aggravated stalking, or
- Unlawful imprisonment; and
- Acted without justification.
What Is Second Degree Murder?
Second-degree murder is defined as any murder not falling under the definition of first-degree murder (MCL 750.317). An offense is committed when the defendant caused someone's death and intended to kill or do great bodily harm or engaged in conduct knowing it would very likely cause death or great bodily harm. Second-degree murder is punishable by life or any term of years in prison. Whether you have been charged with first- or second-degree murder, Lapeer County homicide attorney Mr. Jocuns will aggressively fight for you throughout your case.
What's Murder by a Controlled Substance?
According to Michigan's laws, a person can commit a homicide offense when they deliver a schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance to another person. Under MCL 750.317a, charges can be brought when an individual gives a drug to someone else and the consumption of that substance causes the individual's death. Death resulting from the delivery of a controlled substance is punishable by imprisonment for any number of years or life.
What Constitutes Manslaughter in MI?
In Michigan, manslaughter (MCL 750.321) involves killing another person without premeditation or justification. However, the actor may still have intended to take the other person's life or do something with a very high risk of death or great bodily harm. Generally, manslaughter occurs when someone is in a heightened emotional state after being provoked and they act before having time to cool off. Acting out of passion or anger, they cause the death of another person.
The offense is punishable by no more than 15 years in prison. Manslaughter cases can be complicated, but Lapeer County homicide lawyer Bernard Jocuns is ready to take on the challenge.
Discuss Your Case with Bernard Anthony Jocuns & Associates
A trial attorney, Mr. Jocuns does not rely on plea deals to pursue favorable outcomes for his clients. He prepares each case with the mindset of taking it to court. Presenting arguments before a Michigan judge or jury is where he feels comfortable. You have the right to defend yourself and fight back against the allegations. However, doing so without the help of a homicide lawyer in Lapeer can be challenging, and one misstep in your case could profoundly affect the outcome.
Get started on your defense by contacting Lapeer County homicide attorney Bernard Jocuns at (810) 255-4033.
“I felt very confident with him representing me in court and he ultimately helped me win back not only my reputation, but also my freedom. I owe this man my life. Thank you, Bernard Jocuns.”- Jordan F.
“I would highly recommend Bernard is one of the candidates you discuss your legal needs with before hiring and be reassured from my perspective you won’t be disappointed.”- Kory B.
“Mr. Jocuns is truly a blessing.. This is the guy that will get the job done... feels good having him by ur side.- Pheng L.
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