When people face murder charges, they may initially think that these charges are all the same. Because these charges have different consequences, people need to understand the differences between them.
People may face either second-degree or first-degree murder charges depending on the situation.
According to the Missouri Legislature, second-degree murder is a class A felony. There are several situations that may result in this charge. People may plan to harm another person and cause injuries that result in death. Additionally, people may face this charge if they kill another person while committing a felony. People do not necessarily need to plan the death of another person to face second-degree murder charges. Instead, courts expect that people should have known that their actions could result in death.
The penalty for second-degree murder typically depends on the situation. If people committed a felony that resulted in the murder, many courts order punishment for the felony. They usually add an additional penalty for the murder. If a felony conviction requires someone to pay a fine and spend time in jail, for example, then defendants may have longer prison sentences.
The Missouri Legislature says that people commit first-degree murder if they intentionally kill another person. Premeditation is usually an aspect of this offense. First-degree murder is also a class A felony. If people receive a conviction, their sentence is usually life-long imprisonment. Additionally, people typically lose their eligibility for parole and probation. They may regain their eligibility if the Missouri governor intervenes.
Sometimes, people may be able to reduce their charges if they agree to a plea bargain. Courts also consider the unique factors of each case, and this may affect the charges and the penalty.