1st vs 2nd Degree Murder
Murder is the killing of a human being and it is considered a very serious crime in all countries of the world. However, there are differences in murders that are recognized by different jurisdictions based upon the severity of crime, the intention or premeditation involved, and the manner in which the act has been carried out. The seriousness of crime is often measured by categorizing murders into degrees that are labeled as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. This article attempts to highlight the features and implications of 1st and 2nd degree murders.
1st degree Murder
The categorization of murders into degrees is to let others know about the severity and brutality of the crime. Thus, it is the 1st degree murder that is considered to be the most heinous of crimes. This is a kind of murder where the person carrying out murder premeditates and plans in advance. There are variations in different states as to what constitutes a first degree murder. This is because of the fact that homicide is considered to be a state subject. In general, there is the intent to kill a person, and it is premeditated. The seriousness of the crime increases if the culprit has murdered previously too. There are criteria for establishing the degree of a murder in every state and it is prudent to consult the legal system of the state concerned to know if a murder classifies to be 1st degree or not. There is no regard for human life in a 1st degree murder.
2nd degree Murder
This is a type of killing where premeditation is usually lacking, and there is no planning in advance to carry out the act. This is the killing of a human being that takes place on the spur of the moment with an assault with a weapon. In 2nd degree murder, there is generally no other heinous crime associated such as rape, robbery, and arson. Murders that fail to qualify for 1st degree are automatically considered as 2nd degree murders.
What is the difference between1st and 2nd Degree Murder?
• Murders that have the intent to kill and are planned in advance are considered 1st degree murders.
• Murders where intent to kill is not premeditated classify under 2nd degree murders.
• Other heinous crimes such as rape, arson, bombing etc. are usually involved with 1st degree murders whereas these are lacking in case of 2nd degree murders.
• 1st degree murder is considered more serious offense than 2nd degree murders.
• Life sentence or the death penalty is usually reserved for 1st degree murders whereas 2nd degree murders carry imprisonment for 10-25 years.
• There is no parole for 1st degree murders whereas 2nd degree murder convicts can get parole.
• Sometimes, degree of murder is decided on the basis of age of the criminal or the circumstances under which the act has been carried out.