People may not realize that there are different types of murder charges. If people are facing first-degree murder charges, they need to understand exactly what this means.

First-degree murder is the most serious kind of homicide charge. According to the Missouri Legislation, people may face first-degree murder charges if law enforcement officials think that they planned to kill another person and then intentionally carried out the act. The penalty for these charges can be severe. If people receive a conviction, they may face life imprisonment. Additionally, they may be ineligible for release, parole or probation.

Potential mitigating factors

Law enforcement officials consider several factors when they charge someone with first-degree murder. According to FindLaw, these mitigating or aggravating factors determine how seriously law enforcement officials treat the offense. Mitigating factors may cause officials to be more lenient, while aggravating factors may result in a harsher stance.

Officials usually consider the background of the defendant. Does the defendant have a criminal record or is this a person’s first offense? Did the person experience emotional and mental distress before committing the offense? Was the defendant under the control of another person? Additionally, people consider the age of the defendant. If the defendant is a minor, law enforcement officials consider whether this person was an accomplice. They may also ask if the defendant truly understood the situation.

Potential aggravating factors

First-degree murder charges may be more serious depending on the identity of the victim. If the victim was a member of law enforcement or an elected official, people may face more serious charges. Law enforcement officials also consider the circumstances that resulted in a person’s death. Did someone commit the offense to access their spouse’s life insurance? Was the defendant involved in illegal activities? Was someone trying to arrest the defendant during the incident? All these factors help law enforcement officials decide how serious the offense is and how they should handle it.