What does Murder mean?
Murder is the intentional and willful action to end another person's life. It is generally classified as first or second degree. For instance, if the defendant is charged with first degree murder the state is claiming the killing was intentional, premeditated and done with malice.
Second degree murder, however, is intentional but not premeditated. Second degree murder can include killing someone in the heat of the moment. Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter is a lesser charge where someone unintentionally kills someone through their negligent or reckless actions. Whether you are charged with manslaughter or murder can be determined by your state of mind at the time of the death.
Defendants may also be charged with murder under the felony murder rule if a murder occurs during the commission of another crime such as bank robbery or kidnapping. The defendant does not, however, have to be the actual one who committed the murder to be charged.
If you are convicted of felony murder this is a capital crime and many states allow the death penalty. If your state does not allow the death penalty you may receive imprisonment for life without the chance for parole. If you have been charged with a crime you need to talk to a criminal defense lawyer for more information about how to fight your case.