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What are the differences between Murder 1 and Murder 2?

If you are accused of committing murder in New York, you face very serious charges. Murder is one of the most heinous crimes, and 31 states can impose the death penalty on convicted murderers. New York, along with 18 other states, abolished capital punishment, and four other states have a gubernatorial moratorium on it.

As Diffen.com explains, New York statutes specify two classifications of murder: first degree murder and second degree murder. Your charge depends on your intent for committing the alleged murder and the way in which you allegedly committed it.

Murder 1

If your charge is first degree murder, the state is alleging that you committed a premeditated killing with special circumstances such as the following:

  • You killed a law enforcement officer, firefighter, judge or crime witness.
  • You killed multiple people at the same time.
  • You killed someone while committing a felony such as a robbery, kidnapping or hijacking.
  • You committed a particularly heinous killing, such as by torturing your victim.

If convicted of this A-1 felony, you will serve a minimum of 20 years in prison. However, you could serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, especially in you were convicted of one or more previous murders.

Murder 2

If your charge is second degree murder, the state is alleging that you committed a premeditated killing without any special circumstances. If convicted of this A-1 felony, you will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. As with a first degree murder conviction, you also could serve life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of second degree murder.

This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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