In our previous post, we discussed first-degree murder charges and some of the basic information about them. One aspect of these charges that we haven’t covered is the defense options that are available for people who are facing this serious charge.
A person who is facing a first-degree murder charge generally has two defense options. The first is that the defendant did kill the victim, but not in a manner that meets the requirements of first-degree murder. The second is that the defendant didn’t kill the victim.
In the case of the first defense, which was that the defendant killed the victim but not in a manner consistent with first-degree murder, the defendant might try to prove he or she committed the murder because it was a necessary form of self-defense. Another option would be to show that some form of incapacitation was present when the murder occurred, so the defendant shouldn’t be held legally liable for the murder. These forms of defense can be rather difficult to prove.
Along those same lines, the defendant might try to prove that the victim didn’t die because of murder but because of an accident. Proof that an accident occurred is usually necessary for a person who opts to use this as his or her defense strategy.
In the case of the second defense option, which was that the defendant didn’t kill the victim, there are several ways that the defendant can try to prove this. One method would be to show that there is a case of mistaken identity.
In all cases, it is vital for the person being charged with first-degree murder to understand the basics of the defense type used in his or her case. This can help them to work with the legal representation to decide how to handle each step of the case.
Source: FindLaw, “First Degree Murder Defenses,” accessed June 17, 2015
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