Murder charges are always serious, but when you are facing first-degree murder or felony murder charges in Michigan, you are facing the possibility of a harsh future. Here are some things to remember if you are facing murder a charge here:
A first-degree murder charge means the prosecution is alleging there was premeditation involved. In Michigan, the law stipulates that premeditation doesn't have to be a long process. Instead, this can occur in a matter of seconds, which can make defense strategies challenging in these cases. Another point that must be present is that the killing must be intentional or with an evil intent.
First-degree versus felony murder
You might hear some people say felony murder instead of first-degree murder when discussing some cases. There are differences between these, so it is important to know them.
A felony murder occurs during the commission or attempted commission of another crime. Some of these crimes include breaking and entering, robbery, drug crimes, criminal sexual conduct, abuse of a vulnerable adult, kidnapping, larceny, carjacking and aggravated stalking.
Penalties for first-degree or felony murder convictions
The penalties for first-degree murder and felony murder are the same. While Michigan doesn't have the death penalty, you are looking at a term of life in prison without being eligible for parole.
An interesting point to note is that Michigan once had the death penalty. It wasn't until 1962 that a constitutional convention voted to abolish it. That was made law in 1963, at which time it became illegal to execute a person for any reason. From 1847, the death penalty was abolished for all crimes except treason.
Only 13 executions have occurred here. Seven of those occurred before Michigan was a U.S. territory and six happened subsequently. Only one occurred since it became a state, but this was a federal case that was outside of Michigan's jurisdiction.
Your defense matters
You have to consider the specifics of your case to determine what defense is appropriate. There are many different defense strategies, but the one you choose for your case must be personalized. Make sure that you fully understand your options because every decision you make has the potential to impact your future and freedom.