(US law) First degree murder is considered the highest degree in the categories of murders. However, every state in the US does not categorize the murders into degrees. Defining first degree murder can be bit critical. This means unlawful slaughter of another human with the intention to cause harm and inflict injury.
The Elements of Murder
To file a successful first degree murder lawsuit, it is important that some essential elements are present. The first element is intention. The murderer needs to have the intention to kill. Without intention the case might get degraded and turn into involuntary manslaughter. Here, you need to remember that the intention to kill someone does not need to target the actual victim. The murder may target someone and end up killing someone else. The penalty will be the same. There are states that require malice aforethought for a murder case to be first degree.
Deliberation is another element that is required to be present. This is a tricky element to determine. If you think that deliberation means the murderer needs to spend years contemplating the murder, you are wrong. This means the murderer had enough time to execute the plan and conceal the act. This is deliberation.
This is also like intention. However, this means evil intention to harm someone. Here the catch is different state treat malice aforethought differently. Some states require only deliberation for a lawsuit to be considered first degree.
If you are charged with murder and the state succeeds in convicting you, do you know may happen? Of course, you may not get the capital penalty, but you may spend life in the prison. Having a criminal record makes life of the accused difficult to live. You may not be able to get a job. You may get treated as an outcast. Therefore, you need solid defense when you are accused of first degree murder.
Hire a competent South Carolina criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer specialized in providing murder defense can help you in this situation. Different defense strategies work in this case. You need to determine whether you should deny the charge and plead not-guilty or plead guilty but say that it was not first degree.
This is a complicated matter. You need legal assistance to determine whether you will plead guilty or not. Your lawyer will be able to help you in this matter. If you plead not-guilty you will require solid evidence to establish that you have been in some place else when the murder occurred. For this you will require an alibi who can testify that you have been somewhere else at the time of murder.
This is another defense strategy. You can try to establish that the officers have made mistake and got the wrong person. For this also, you require expert legal assistance. Someone who knows the law will be able to help you establish this.
If you plead guilty, you can show that the killing was justified. You can claim self defense if you can, yet, for this also, you will require proper legal assistance.