Difference between first degree and second degree murder
First degree vs second degree murder:
Murder can be defined as taking a person’s life and it is a most heinous crime, condemned by all religions, all communities no matter to what amount one had contributed towards the crime. Yet, murders are classified for the ease of the system to punish offenders and two such forms are 1st degree and 2nd degree murder. Thus, this article seeks to distinguish the difference between 1st degree and 2nd degree murder, while drawing parallels with them as well.
What is first degree murder?
first degree murder can be defined as a murder that was premeditated, planned and organized prior to the killing. Such a murder is done with a malicious intent, while that person is also engaged in certain felony crimes such as aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, assault by drive by shooting, armed robbery, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, cruelty to juveniles, second degree cruelty to juveniles, and terrorism which eventually led to the murder of a person as is mentioned in the felony murder statute.
What is second degree murder?
When an offender has a specific intent on killing someone and yet, is not interested in committing a felony crime, it is known as a second degree murder. Yet, if the offender was committing a felony crime, having no intention of killing someone and yet, someone gets killed intentionally or unintentionally, it is still categorized under a second degree murder.
What is the difference between 1st degree and 2nd degree murder?
Whereas first degree murder is considered as a killing which had been committed during which the offender had been engaged in a felony crime, a second degree murder is considered as a killing which occurs while the offender is not engaged in a felony crime. Moreover, while in order to commit first degree murder, one needs to have the intention of killing, in second degree murder, the offender does not need to have an intention in killing.
Whereas first degree murder can be categorized under premeditated, planned killings, second degree murder falls under unplanned types of murder. Premeditated murder can be defined as more than a mere intent to kill but also a fully formed conscious purpose to kill. Also, the punishments for the two crimes vary greatly. If convicted of first degree murder, the offender will be presented with the capital punishment of death or life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. It is the jury which decides between death penalty or life imprisonment. For offenders who had been convicted of second degree murder, the punishment would be imprisonment for 20 years up to life imprisonment without the chance to parole.