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When a person is first accused of homicide (the killing of a person), it's usually referred to as an open count of murder.

The prosecution will later attempt to charge the accused with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. The defense lawyers at McGraw & Strickland, LLC, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, have in-depth understanding of the intricacies of the specific charges. Arrange a consultation now by calling 575-523-4321.

The Classifications Of Murder Charges

There are two basic classifications of murder: first-degree/felony murder and second-degree.

First-degree murder is the killing of one human being by another without lawful justification or excuse by any of the means with which death may be caused:

  1. By any kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing

  2. In the commission of or attempt to commit any felony

  3. By any act greatly dangerous to the lives of others, indicating a depraved mind regardless of human life

Second-degree murder is when a person kills another human being without lawful justification or excuse and, if in performing the acts which cause the death, they know that such acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another. A homicide is not second-degree murder if the accused is acting upon sufficient provocation, upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.

The Classifications Of Manslaughter Charges

Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice.

Voluntary manslaughter is manslaughter committed upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.

Involuntary manslaughter is manslaughter committed in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to felony, or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.

Without question, murder and manslaughter are one of the most serious things with which a person can be charged. A person charged with any of these crimes needs to contact an attorney for assistance right away. McGraw & Strickland, LLC, can be reached at 575-523-4321.