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The Meaning of Second Degree Murder Charges

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2014 | Firm News |


After a woman died in a house fire at the end of 2013, local news outlets reported that her boyfriend was taken into custody. Along with arson, the charges he’s currently facing include second-degree intentional murder and second-degree unintentional murder while committing a felony.

The death is tragic, and now it’s up to the state to prove beyond a doubt that the individual in question is guilty of the crimes he’s charged with.

What do these types of second-degree murder mean for people charged with them?

In Minnesota, for a conviction of second-degree intentional murder the state needs to prove that an individual intended to cause death; however, the act wasn’t premeditated. (Causing a death by means of a drive-by shooting could also land you with a charge of second-degree intentional murder.)

For second-degree unintentional murder, the state doesn’t need to prove any intent to cause death. If an individual causes another person to die in the course of perpetrating a felony (e.g. arson), they could face charges of second-degree unintentional murder. (However, a death that occurs during some kinds of violent sexual misconduct could result in a charge of first-degree murder.)

The consequences of a conviction in either case could mean imprisonment for up to 40 years. These are serious felonies.

Obtaining the assistance of a reputable Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer will help ensure that you’re being treated fairly by the legal system and that you have a shot at receiving a favorable outcome during a trial or a plea bargain.

It isn’t always easy to prove intentionality, and the evidence pointing to a particular person’s involvement in a crime may be inconclusive or weak. An attorney will critically examine all of the evidence brought by the state to prove that an individual not only was involved in a certain act but that the circumstances warrant the charges in question. Don’t hesitate to contact us so that we may be your advocates in the legal system.