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Nevada First-Degree Murder

In many states, first-degree murder is defined as an unlawful killing that is committed willfully and with premeditation. Murder in the first degree is the most serious form of criminal homicide in Nevada, and can be punished by death. The table below outlines Nevada's first-degree murder law.

Code Section

Nevada Code section 200.030: Degrees of Murder

Murder in the First Degree


First-degree murder is any killing that is committed by poison, lying in wait, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing committed:
  • During the perpetration (or attempted perpetration) of sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, robbery, burglary, invasion of the home, sexual abuse of a child, sexual molestation of a child who is less than 14 years old, child abuse, or abuse of an older or vulnerable person
  • To avoid being arrested or to escape from legal custody
  • At a school, a school sponsored activity, or on a school bus by a person who intended to create a great risk of death or substantial bodily harm to more than one person via a weapon, device, or action that would normally be hazardous to the lives of more than one person, or
  • In the perpetration (or attempted perpetration) of an act of terrorism


First-degree murder is a category A felony that is punishable by:
  • Death (if one or more aggravating circumstances exist and any mitigating circumstances do not outweigh the aggravating circumstances), or
  • Imprisonment for 50 years to life without the possibility of parole

Circumstances Aggravating and Mitigating First-Degree Murder

In Nevada, the penalty for committing first-degree murder can be increased if there are aggravating circumstances, or decreased if there are mitigating circumstances, present when the killing is committed. The lists below provide examples of aggravating and mitigating circumstances that are recognized in Nevada for first-degree murder convictions.

Aggravating Circumstances:

  • The offender was previously convicted of a murder or a felony involving the use or threat of violence.
  • The murder was committed in exchange for money or any other thing of value.
  • The murder involved torture or mutilation of the victim.
  • The murder was committed upon one or more people at random and without apparent motive.
  • The murder victim was less than 14 years old.
  • The murder was committed with the intent to commit, cause, aid, further, or conceal an act of terrorism.

Mitigating Circumstances:

  • The offender has no significant history of prior criminal activity.
  • The murder was committed while the offender was under the influence of an extreme mental or emotional disturbance.
  • The victim participated in the offender's criminal conduct or consented to the act.
  • The offender was an accomplice in a murder committed by another person and the offender's participation in the murder was relatively minor.
  • The offender acted under duress or under the domination of another person.
  • The youth of the offender at the time of the murder.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Nevada's first-degree murder law contact a local criminal defense attorney.

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