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New Jersey First-Degree Murder Laws

When a person kills someone, regardless of intent or other details surrounding the incident, it is generally called a homicide.

In New Jersey, a murder (also called first-degree murder), is the most serious type of homicide because it is planned and done on purpose with some type evil intent, or done while committing certain types of felonies.

Specifically, murder is when a person knowingly and purposefully kills another person or causes substantial bodily harm that the person later dies due to the injuries that were inflicted.

Felony Murder

It is also considered murder when a person who is committing a different serious crime kills someone during the commission of that crime, or while fleeing from the scene. The murder isn’t necessarily planned out or intended, it’s just a consequence of the other offense. Even a death that is an accident will be considered felony murder if it happens while a felony is being committed.

If you commit murder in the perpetration or attempted perpetration any of the following you will face the same penalty as murder:

  • Kidnapping;
  • Sexual Assault;
  • Arson;
  • Robbery;
  • Burglary;
  • Carjacking;
  • Criminal Escape;
  • Terrorism;
  • Escape.

The following table highlights the main provisions of New Jersey's murder laws. See also Voluntary Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter, First Degree Murder Defenses, and First Degree Murder Penalties and Sentencing.

Code Sections N.J.S. 2C:11-3

Murder in the first degree.

What is Prohibited?

A planned or intentional killing of another person, or serious bodily injury resulting in death or a killing while committing certain felonies (felony murder).

Felony Murder If the homicide (killing of a human) took place in conjunction with a felony crime, such as robbery, burglary, a sex crime, sodomy, arson, carjacking, etc., you can be charged with felony murder.
Penalty 30 years to life imprisonment or life imprisonment without possibility of parole in some circumstances such as killing a police officer while on duty, or the killing of someone under the age of 14-years-old.
Civil Case

Possible Wrongful Death lawsuit.

Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of new statutes and other means. If you do find yourself facing an aggravated murder or felony murder charge, you may wish to contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney for assistance.

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