What Is Second-Degree Murder?

There are few more serious crimes than murder; therefore, being accused of this crime is a serious one. And a serious criminal allegation should be treated as such because the penalties that could behold the accused could impact them for years to come. Take for example second-degree murder. While it may not be the most severe murder charge, the criminal consequences attached to this crime could impact the accused for a lifetime.

What is second-degree murder? Unlike first-degree murder, second-degree murder is not premeditated. It is an intentional killing that is not planned or committed in a reasonable "heat of passion." It is also the killing by a dangerous conduct that is obviously lacking the concern for human life. In some cases, second-degree murder is in between first-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges.

There are other factors that could constitute a second-degree murder. This includes a killing done impulsively with malice aforethought but without premeditation, a killing that results from the intention to cause serious bodily injury and a killing that results from an act that illustrates the person's depraved indifference of human life.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the charges, the accused could face harsh penalties. This could include prison time and hefty fines. Because this could significantly impact the life of the defendant, it is vital to explore his or her rights with regards to initiating a criminal defense to reduce and even dismiss that charges against them. Having experienced legal guidance can be of great help in these situations.