Michigan Murder Defense Lawyers

Our Michigan Defense Attorneys Explain Everything You Need to Know About First Degree Murder

When it comes to criminal offenses, few charges carry the gravity of first degree murder. This charge is viewed in Michigan courts as the most serious form of homicide.

With decades of experience handling these charges, the defense lawyers at Gentry Nalley are ready to help you with any matters relating to first degree murder. This includes understanding everything you should know about first degree murder in Michigan.

What is First Degree Murder in Michigan?

Michigan law loosely defines first degree murder as the intentional and premeditated killing of another person. This means the act was planned or thought-out beforehand, which is what separates it from other types of homicide such as second degree murder.

Some examples of first degree murders in Michigan include lying in wait to kill another person, using poison to end a person’s life, or luring someone into a situation where they would be killed.

Additionally, certain circumstances can also elevate a murder charge to first degree. These include:

  • Felony Murder: Even though the act wasn’t premeditated, taking a life while committing other felonies can classify the homicide as first degree murder.
  • Murder of a Peace Officer: Knowingly and deliberately taking the life of a uniformed law enforcement or conservation officer while performing their duty classifies the murder as first degree.

How Felony Murders Can be Classified as First Degree Murders

As mentioned above, not all first degree murders in Michigan involve premeditation. If a person commits a murder while also committing a felony, it can be legally classified as first degree murder even though it was not done intentionally.

These are some of the crimes that Michigan law views as felonies: arson, criminal sexual conduct, first degree child abuse, a major drug offense, robbery, carjacking, breaking and entering a home, larceny, extortion, kidnapping, first or second degree vulnerable adult abuse, torture, aggravated stalking, or unlawful imprisonment.

That means that if a person intentionally or unintentionally kills another person while committing one of these acts, their murder will likely be classified as first degree.

Penalties for First Degree Murder in Michigan

Michigan imposes severe penalties for those convicted of first degree murder.

Unless there are certain exceptional circumstances surrounding the crime, there is only one punishment under Michigan penal code section 750.316: life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

However, it’s important to note that if a murder case is tried under federal law, it can result in the death penalty.

What to Do If Charged with First Degree Murder in Michigan

Knowing how serious the penalties are, anyone who is charged with first-degree murder should take immediate and strategic legal action.

A person charged with first degree murder should take these steps:

  1. Get Knowledgeable Legal Representation
    Seek legal help from Gentry Nalley immediately. If you have been taken into custody, use your telephone call to contact Gentry Nalley. If you must call a family member, do not share anything and have them contact us immediately. Our skilled defense lawyers can assess the details of the case, build a robust defense to clear your name, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.
  2. Understand the Charges
    Work closely with Gentry Nalley’s defense attorneys to understand the specific charges against you. Knowing the elements of the offense and developing potential defenses is essential for building a strong case.
  3. Gather Evidence
    Collaborate with our defense lawyers to gather evidence that supports your defense. This may include witness statements, alibi evidence, or any factors that may challenge the prosecution’s case.
  4. Prepare for Legal Proceedings
    Be prepared for legal proceedings, including arraignment, pre-trial hearings, and a potential trial. Gentry Nalley’s legal team will guide you through each step, advocating for your rights and building the strongest possible defense while finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you.

In addition to taking these crucial steps towards clearing your name, you should also avoid making any legal mistakes by taking these steps:

  1. Do not answer any questions, agree to any accusations or deals, or share any details of your case with anyone. In a polite manner, simply say, “I would like to speak with my attorney.”
  2. Do not consent to anything without the advice of an attorney. This includes searches, tests, DNA samples, or other means of investigation.
  3. Do not resist arrest. Never struggle with law enforcement or try to escape.
  4. Do not provide any information aside from your name, address, contact information, fingerprints, and the name of your attorney.

Michigan Laws Affecting First Degree Murder Cases

Our experienced murder attorneys know how to use Michigan law to provide you with the most robust offense possible.

We will likely be using these Michigan statutes that shape the legal landscape surrounding first degree murder offenses:

  • Michigan Penal Code 750.316: This statute outlines the definition and elements of first-degree murder, specifying the circumstances that elevate a homicide to this most serious charge.
  • Michigan Penal Code 769.25: This statute affects certain exceptions that may be taken into consideration surrounding the accused, along with the proper procedure that may provide opportunities to have the case dismissed.
  • Michigan Penal Code 777.11 et seq.: Michigan’s sentencing guidelines provide a framework for judges to determine appropriate sentences based on the nature and severity of the crime, including first-degree murder.

How Gentry Nalley’s Defense Lawyers Can Help You

Gentry Nalley understands every aspect of Michigan murder defense, including the approach that the prosecution will likely take.

Since first degree murder charges are the most severe level of homicide under Michigan law, the prosecution needs to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the actions of the accused were planned in advance. They will often use certain tactics to provide evidence of premeditation.

However, our murder defense lawyers know how to handle these tactics. For example, we know how to prove reasonable doubt when evidence is acquired. Once reasonable doubt is established, the first-degree murder charge is discredited and can result in a lesser charge or even be dropped entirely.

Murder Defense Attorneys Who Know the Legal System

The murder lawyers at Gentry Nalley understand exactly how the Michigan legal system works. They also know how a murder case can hinge on the smallest of revelations or details.

That’s why our defense team goes to great lengths to find the needed evidence in order to expose the truth about your case and successfully defend you in the courtroom.

Criminal Defense Attorneys With Decades of Experience

Gentry Nalley’s Murder Attorneys have been successfully defending Michigan residents accused of murder for over four decades.

Our experience has given us understanding about how and when to strategically reveal specific details to the court for maximum impact. This enables us to create the most solid defense possible for you, maneuvering matters in your favor and proving your innocence.

Contact Our Murder Defense Lawyers Today

Our legal team is ready to help you if you’re facing murder charges. No matter how complex your case may be, our experienced defense lawyers are ready to help.

Let our attorneys speak with you directly to understand how to effectively handle your case.

Contact us today by calling (517) 552-4092 or use our contact form.

Get the Legal Help You Need From Experienced Attorneys

Contact our Michigan criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Use our contact form or call (517) 552-4092.