First-degree murder is one of the most serious crimes in the United States. It draws very harsh sentences compared to any other criminal offense. First-degree murder penalties vary from state-to-state, and, in some states, you can be faced with life in prison without parole or a death sentence.
Facing a first-degree murder charge or any other murder sentence is not easy. The prosecution will want to do anything to prove that you are guilty. This is why when facing such charges you need to have the best lawyer representing you.
An experienced lawyer can fight to have the charge lowered or dismissed if you are not guilty. They will prepare the best defense and gather evidence to prove that you are not guilty or did not act with malice.
If you are facing murder charges, hire a criminal attorney that you can trust. Chicago Trusted Attorneys will walk the journey with you and will ensure that justice is served.
Penalties and Sentences in First Degree Murder
All first-degree murder charges go to trial. Your lawyer and the prosecution will present that case to the judge and jury, who will then determine the kind of penalty that you should receive. Remember, the minimum sentence for a first-degree murder charge is higher than any other type of homicide.
Some of the penalties that you can face include the following:
Life Without Parole
If your state does not execute the death penalty, you might end up facing jail time without the possibility of parole. You can also face the same sentence if the prosecution fails to convince the court to execute the death penalty.
Quite a number of states still execute the death penalty as their highest form of punishment for this type of crime. However, the terms will depend on the aggravating factors and the state. Your attorney will inform you of your state’s laws on capital punishment.
Other Lesser Sentences
If there are no aggravating factors in your case, you can face other lesser sentences such as life in prison with the possibility of parole. The terms of this sentence also vary from state-to-state. You can face 20 or more years, after which, your attorney can apply for parole.
Defenses to the Charges
There are three elements involved in first-degree murder charges; they include planning, premeditation, and deliberation. To be convicted of the crime, the prosecution must prove that you acted with malice and intended to kill the victim. To defend you, your attorney can present evidence to mitigate the aggravating factors presented by the prosecution. They can argue the following points:
- You were not in the right frame of mind at the time of the crime.
- You were under duress.
- You are not guilty, and you have an alibi for the time and date of the murder.
- It was self-defense.
- You were under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicating substance.
- It is a case of mistaken identity.
- It was an accident.
- You had Battered Woman’s Syndrome.
If your attorney successfully argues your case, you can face a lesser sentence even if you are found guilty.
Talk to an Attorney to Help You Handle Your First Degree Murder Charge
Facing a murder charge is very devastating. The sentence you get can affect your life forever. These charges are also very complicated, and the stakes are quite high. It is important to hire the right criminal defense attorney to review and analyze your case and give you the best defense possible.
Experienced criminal attorneys know how to gather evidence, present the case, and get their clients lesser charges or prove that they are innocent.