In general, murder is defined as homicide plus malice. Homicide is not a crime. It means someone died. Homicide can become murder when it is done with intent to kill. In New Jersey, first degree murder is the most serious type of murder charge and requires a tough strategy. A criminal defense asbury park nj will assist in building a tough defense strategy.
Prosecution Must Show the Homicide occurred because of Malice
New Jersey statute 2C:11-3 defines murder. According to the law, murder is defined as the act of purposely causing the death of another. It can also occur when a person causes a victim serious bodily harm.
Prosecutors must show malice occurred the homicide. Malice involves premeditation and deliberation. Deliberation is the act of thinking about killing someone. People cannot be convicted of thinking murdering someone. However, the prosecutor must show the person let the thought “roll over” in their mind. This is what got them to the next step of planning the murder. Premeditation is the planning of a homicide. This means the person accused of killing a victim planned to do so.
A Person can be Charged with First Degree Murder Even if They Never Kill Them
In New Jersey, the felony murder rule does apply. Felony murder occurs when the homicide occurred because of a felony crime such as carjacking, robbery, burglary, sex crime or arson. The person will be charged with the crime because they were committing an illegal act when someone died. The victim doesn’t have to be the victim of the original felony crime. They could be a police officer or innocent bystander.
Defenses for First Degree Murder in New Jersey
The defenses for first degree murder in New Jersey depends on the circumstances. One defense is actual innocence. This occurs when the person did commit the crime. They often have another defense strategy, an alibi. The alibi involves being somewhere else when the crime occurred.
Another defense is self-defense. A homicide can be justified. This means it happened for a legal reason such as self-defense. A person can be acquitted of first degree murder if they were defending themselves from harm from the alleged victim.
Penalty for First Degree Murder in New Jersey
The criminal sentence associated with first degree murder depends on the circumstances surrounding the crime. For example, a person convicted of killing a police officer or anyone under the age of 14 years old will face a harsher sentence. They will spend their life in prison without the possibility of parole. If those circumstances do not apply, the criminal punishment is 30 years to life in prison.
First Degree Murder in New Jersey
First degree murder can be reduced to a lower charge such as second-degree murder. It depends on the circumstances and the attorney picked to represent the individual. The attorney may be able to negotiate a lower charge or get the charge dropped.