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Michigan First-Degree Murder Laws

When someone takes another person's life, regardless of intent or other details surrounding the incident, it is called a homicide.

In Michigan, first degree murder is the most severe type of homicide because it is planned and was done on purpose with some type of evil intent. In order to sustain a conviction, a Michigan prosecutor must prove that the defendant planned to commit the crime of murder. Contrary to what you may see at the movies or on television, this does not mean that the prosecutor needs to show that a murder was carefully thought out and planned (although it can be). According to Michigan law, premeditation can take place in a matter of seconds.

Felony Murder

A special category exists for murders committed in the perpetration of other crimes. If you commit murder in the perpetration or attempted perpetration any of the following you will face the same penalty as first-degree murder:

Arson; criminal sexual conduct; first-degree child abuse; major controlled substance offenses; robbery; carjacking; breaking and entering a home; larceny; extortion; kidnapping; first- or second-degree vulnerable adult abuse; torture; or aggravated stalking.

Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer

Murder of a peace officer or a corrections officer committed while the peace officer or corrections officer is lawfully engaged in the performance of any of his or her duties is also considered first degree murder.

Murder v. Manslaughter

A murder is a willful killing, in which someone makes a conscious choice to kill someone else, while manslaughter is typically an accidental murder.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Michigan first-degree murder laws. See also Voluntary Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter, First Degree Murder Defenses, and First Degree Murder Penalties and Sentencing.

Code Sections Murder and Felony Murder: Michigan Criminal Code 750.316

"Criminal homicide," "felony murder"

What is Prohibited?

Murder: a planned or intentional homicide of another person or a homicide while committing a felony.

Felony Murder A person commits felony murder (murder) if any death (even an accidental one) results from the commission of certain violent felonies -- such as arson, burglary, kidnapping, rape, and robbery (see full list above).
Penalty Life imprisonment without possibility of parole
Civil Case

Possible wrongful death lawsuit

Degrees of Murder

1) First-degree and felony murder

2) Second-degree murder

The stakes are high with a first degree murder charge. If you do find yourself facing a murder or felony murder charge, it is vital that defendants seek the assistance of experienced and knowledgeable Michigan murder defense attorneys who can analyze the prosecutor's case against you. Consider hiring a Michigan criminal defense lawyer for assistance.

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