Three Categories of Homicide
If a person kills someone else, it is usually referred to as a homicide, regardless of the intent and circumstances surrounding the situation. That does not mean that every homicide results in criminal charges. For example, certain instances of self-defense or homicide as a result of an accident may not warrant charges.
If the homicide was planned or committed on purpose, it is considered murder.
New Jersey Criminal Homicide Law has three categories:
- Death by Auto
First Degree Murder vs. Second Degree Murder
Murder charges are classified as either first-degree or second-degree murders, and the primary distinction between the two categories is premeditation or deliberation. In New Jersey, murder is a first-degree crime, and the NJ Criminal Homicide Law has three forms of murder:
- In the course of committing, or attempting to commit, certain felonies
In purposeful or knowing murder, the state must prove:
- A person has died
- The defendant caused the death or caused serious injuries that resulted in death
- The defendant acted purposefully or knowingly, e.g., using a deadly weapon capable of killing, such as a knife or gun
An exception to rule in distinguishing between first- and second-degree murders that will result in first-degree murder charges is if the homicide was committed during the perpetration or attempted perpetration of another crime such as:
- Criminal escape
- Sexual assault
Penalties for First Degree Murder in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the penalty for murder in the first degree is 30 years to life in prison.
In certain circumstances, such as killing an on-duty police officer or someone under 14 years old, the penalty is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Penalties for Second Degree Murder in New Jersey
Aggravating factors — aspects of the situation such as criminal history that increase the length of sentencing — and mitigating factors — which generally lessen the sentence — play an important role in the penalties for second-degree murder. This is because sentencing guidelines allow for a range of sentencing, generally around 15 years to life in prison.
A Focused and Aggressive Defense
If you’ve been accused of murder, you need the proven skills of Rosenberg | Perry & Associates as your representative and advocate in court.
Not only are our attorneys are certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as criminal trial lawyers, but our team includes former county prosecutors. We have a first-hand understanding of the opposition’s perspective, and we will use this knowledge to design and execute a winning defense.
If you are accused of murder or manslaughter, you and your family are caught in a confusing, and often frightening process. Our compassionate and empathetic attorneys understand and will work diligently to represent your best interests both in and out of court. We can start with a free consultation — call (609) 216-7400 to schedule an appointment.