Murder is the most serious charge a person can face. Nevada allows the death penalty in certain cases. If you are charged with murder, you should seek a violent crimes legal counsel as soon as possible because your freedom is at stake. You need every advantage in this situation.
While the Nevada legal definition of murder may seem obvious, it actually has many parts that the state must prove. Murder is the unlawful killing of another person with “malice aforethought.” Malice aforethought means the deliberate intention to unlawfully take away another person’s life.
Malice is assumed when there is no provocation for the killing by the deceased, and the circumstances of the case show an “abandoned and malignant heart.” The Nevada courts have looked at many cases in which the defendant had an opportunity- even for a second- not to go through with the killing and did so anyway. This is enough to show that the killing was done with an abandoned and malignant heart.
The crime of homicide is separated into four types depending on the circumstances of the case and the mindset of the alleged killer:
Voluntary Manslaughter and Involuntary Manslaughter are separate crimes.
Murder in the first degree is a Category A felony. It can punishable by death or by life in prison without parole if aggravating factors are present. Other sentences include 50 years with the possibility of parole after 20 years served, or life with the possibility of parole after 20 years.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
A sentence for first degree murder can be increased, or even doubled, if the killing involved any of the following:
In sentencing, the court will consider mitigating factors, which are factors that show the defendant in a positive light, such as:
Second degree murder is also a Category A felony but it is punishable by life with the possibility of parole after 10 years served, or 25 years with the possibility of parole after 10 years.
Attempted murder does require a death. Instead, the prosecutor must only prove two things:
Attempted murder is a Category B felony in Nevada, which carries 2 to 20 years in prison. The sentence can be doubled if a deadly weapon is involved or the victim is 60 years old or older.
If the specific desire to kill, not just injure, cannot be proven, the charge could be reduced to an aggravated assault.
Homicide charges have two main defenses: the insanity defense (a temporary mental episode where the defendant could not control him or herself) and self-defense. Self-defense must show a danger “so urgent and pressing” that the killing was absolutely necessary to prevent the killing of the defender or someone else.