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What is the difference between Murder 1 and Murder 2?

If you face murder charges in New York, this is very serious indeed. Even though New York abolished the death penalty for murder and all other crimes, you could face life imprisonment if you are convicted of murder.

As Diffen.com explains, New York has two murder classifications: first degree and second degree. Which you are alleged with committing depends on what you allegedly did and how you allegedly did it.

Murder 1

To convict you of first degree murder, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a premeditated killing with one or more special circumstances such as the following:

  • You killed a judge, a crime witness, a law enforcement officer or a firefighter.
  • You killed more than one person during the same incident.
  • You killed someone during the commission of a felony such as a kidnap, a hijacking or a robbery.
  • You killed someone in a particularly heinous manner such as by torturing him or her prior to his or her death.

First degree murder is an A-1 felony in New York. If convicted, you will serve a minimum prison sentence of 20 years, but could serve life in prison without the possibility of parole if this is your second or more murder conviction.

Murder 2

To convict you of second degree murder, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a premeditated killing without any special circumstances. Second degree murder also is an A-1 felony in New York. If convicted, you will serve a minimum prison sentence of 15 years, but again, you could serve life in prison without the possibility of parole depending on the circumstances.

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

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