What is Second Degree Murder?
Second Degree Murder is classified as a type of murder, which is an act that results in the premeditated, deliberate, purposeful, and premature termination of the life of an individual at the hands of another individual. In most cases, the individual victim who suffered death was not the intended target of the individual suspected of the act of killing. Although the killing took place with malice aforethought, deliberation, and planning, the individual killed was not the individual intended to be killed by the suspect. Second Degree Murders are accidental deaths that are analogous to the intent and premeditation latent in First Degree Murder charges.
Second Degree Murder Offense Profile
Legal Jurisdiction: Criminal Law
Type of Crime: Felony
Criminal Code: Varies upon the location of the crime, including the applicable country, nation, state, or province
Range of Punishment(s): Fines, probation, associated penalties, or incarceration – varies upon case details
Duration of Punishment(s): Varies upon case details
Applicable Punishment(s): Varies upon individual intent, criminal record, criminal history, and the victim(s) involved. Second Degree Murder is only second in severity to a First Degree Murder charge. However, the convictions and subsequent punishments are oftentimes very common in legal and punitive restitution.
Second Degree Murder Allegations: Terminology and Associated Offenses
The following are commonly associated with charges of Second Degree Murder:
Malice Aforethought: The expressed planning and deliberation with regard to a crime, which is intended to cause harm or damage.
Manslaughter: The premature termination of the life of an individual at the hands of another individuals that lacks planning, forethought, and deliberation.
First Degree Murder: The unlawful, illegal, and planned execution of an individual at the hands of another individual.
Intent: Intent is legally defined as the intended result for which one hopes as a result of any individual action or activity. In the event of an Involuntary Manslaughter charge, the prosecuting attorney is responsible to prove that suspect acted knowingly and deliberately in their respective actions resulting in the death of the victim(s) involved.
Wrongful Death: The analogous charge of Involuntary Manslaughter in a civil court.
Murder: Murder retains the inclusion of malice aforethought or intent.
Arrest Process for Second Degree Murder
Individuals who have been served documentation in the form of an arrest warrant displaying a Second Degree Murder charge, or have already been arrested by law enforcement agents, are encouraged to cooperate with the arresting officers regardless of personal belief with regard to the charges.
Individuals under arrest will be given the opportunity to consult with legal specialists subsequent to the arrest process. Resisting or fleeing from a Second Degree Murder arrest can result in harm, injury, and additional penalties. Upon arrest, an individual should be made aware of the following in order to prevent any further complication(s):
The Presumption of Innocence.
Upon the arrest for a Second Degree Murder charge, this is the standard arrest protocol that must be upheld by any and all arresting officers. Miranda Rights include the Fifth Amendment, which states that an individual retains the right to remain silent in order to avoid incriminating themselves. This is also known as ‘pleading the Fifth’. In addition, Miranda Rights also guarantee the following rights with regard to an arrest:
The right to remain silent
The right for any words spoken during the arrest to be admissible during a trial
The right to consult with an attorney regardless of financial stature
The acknowledgement that the individual arrested for the Second Degree Murder charge understands the aforementioned rights.
The Preparation of a Second Degree Murder Defense
Individuals are encouraged to consult with attorneys specializing in criminal law and, if possible, those who focus on Second Degree Murder legality, criminal law, and defense. In the construction of a defense, the individual may be asked to provide the nature of the Second Degree Murder in question, any included threats, the biographical information with regard to any and all victims, any previous arrests and/or convictions, evidence and witness testimony, full account of the details surrounding the event in question, and the arrangement for bail or bond.
Second Degree Murder vs. Wrongful Death
Individuals arrested on charges of Second Degree Murder should be made aware that in the event that an acquittal takes place within a criminal court, the case can be retried by the plaintiff in a civil court. Although civil law and criminal law with respect to Second Degree Murder allegations differ, the primary difference is the compensatory measures that present themselves in the event of a guilty verdict.
While criminal law verdicts can impose penalties including punitive recourse and incarceration, guilty verdicts in the scope of civil law can only render financial and monetary restitution. Second Degree Murder tried within a civil court is considered to be a Wrongful Death lawsuit.