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First-degree murder must meet specific criteria

A first-degree murder charge is one of the most serious ones that a person can face. Several elements must be present for this charge. When any element is missing, the charge will likely be downgraded to second-degree or another one that isn't associated with penalties that are as serious.

One type of first-degree murder is a premediated one. This means that you had time to consider what you were doing and planned it out. You don't have to have detailed plans but there does have to be something that shows you were out for the victim.

An example of premeditated murder is when a person gets into an altercation with another person. Eventually, the two parties go their separate ways. One person comes back looking for the other person. They have a gun with them and shoot the victim when they see them. In this case, the person who shot the other person left the scene and came back after the person. This shows planning.

Another type of first-degree murder is a felony murder. This is any killing that occurs during the commission of a crime. You don't have to mean for the murder to occur.

An example would be if someone dies in an arson that the defendant is responsible for. You didn't mean for the death to occur, but it did due to the fire that was started by the defendant.

There are many different defense angles that may be appropriate for first-degree murder charges. Be sure that you review all these options to determine how you want to plan your defense strategy. Due to the severity of these charges, you should start working on the plan as soon as possible.

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