Murder is causing the death of another person either purposely or knowingly, or in some cases, with reckless disregard for human life. The most serious form of murder is capital murder (RSA 630:1) which can be punished by the death penalty. To be charged with capital murder there must be a specific aggravating circumstance listed in the statute.
The most common way that a defendant will be charged with first degree murder (RSA 630:1-a) is if the murder was committed purposely, meaning it was the defendant’s conscious object for the death of the other person to occur. This is also known as the concept of premeditation. First degree has a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole depending on the age of the defendant.
Second degree murder (defined in RSA 630:1-b) requires: (1) that the act be committed knowingly, meaning that the defendant was aware that his conduct would cause the death, but it was not necessarily his conscious object; (2) or that the act be committed recklessly, but with an extreme indifference to the value of human life. Second degree murder can be punished by up to life in prison, but a life sentence is not mandatory and the judge has the discretion to impose any sentence.
If you or someone you love has been charged with first or second degree murder, you mustn’t wait. You need the criminal defense lawyers of Cohen & Winters — contact us today for a free consultation of your case. We can help.