Murder in Norfolk County is a charge for taking a person’s life without legal justification and extends to intentional, unintentional, or reckless killing. It also applies to actions leading to a direct or indirect cause of death.
An indirect cause of death. The accused may be charged for murder if their reckless or negligent act is capable of causing death and eventually results in death.
While murder is the act of taking another person’s life, there are different charges for the crime depending on the circumstances of each case.
Under Massachusetts Laws, first-degree murder involves any premeditated and deliberate killing, including those done with extreme cruelty. Taking a life while committing or attempting to commit a crime that is punishable by death or life imprisonment is also considered first-degree murder. For example, Mr. X robs a bank and hits Mr. Y, a bank customer, with the butt of his gun to scare everyone. If Mr. Y dies from the injuries, then Mr. X has committed first-degree murder. It is irrelevant whether Mr. X unintentionally killed the bank customer. Since armed robbery is an offense punishable with life imprisonment and death occurred in the process, Mr. X will be charged both for armed robbery and first-degree murder.
The punishment for committing first-degree murder is life imprisonment in state prison with no eligibility for parole. If the offender committed the act after their fourteenth birthday but before their eighteenth birthday, the punishment is also life imprisonment in the state prison. However, such an offender will be eligible for parole after a term of years fixed by the court.
Second-degree murder usually involves intentional but unpremeditated killing. This covers instances where the offender had no prior plan to kill the deceased but does so in the heat of the moment. A second-degree murder charge can also emanate from causing the death of another in the course of committing another crime. For instance, if the offender’s intent was to cause serious physical harm and their actions resulted in the victim’s death.
A second-degree murder conviction is punishable by life imprisonment in the state prison. The offender may be eligible for parole after a term of years fixed by the court.
Under Massachusetts Laws, there is no classification for third-degree murder but its elements or descriptions, as contained in other state’s laws, are similar to the second-degree murder and manslaughter classification in Massachusetts. It refers to a lack of intention to kill but causing death, usually through a reckless act.
Manslaughter in Norfolk County involves the killing of another person through reckless conduct or provocation. While MGL Ch. 265 s. 13 provides for the punishment of manslaughter, it does not explain what may constitute the act of manslaughter. It appears that any other act of unjustifiable murder which is not murder in the first or second degree is manslaughter. Accordingly, examples of manslaughter include
The manslaughter category is wide enough to accommodate multiple scenarios of non-deliberate murder in the absence of reasonable self-defense. Some states classify manslaughter into voluntary and involuntary. However, the MGL Ch. 265 s. 13, as well as the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission Crime List, does not create any clear category. In Norfolk County and Massachusetts generally, it is irrelevant whether the manslaughter is voluntary or involuntary.
The punishment for manslaughter in Norfolk County is
If the offender is a business organization or other legal entity, the punishment is
Vehicular manslaughter is the act of recklessly operating a vehicle, or operating a vehicle under the influence, in a public access area and causing death. A person is operating under the influence if they have a .08 or greater blood alcohol content, or they consumed any stimulating substance such as narcotic drugs.
The punishment for vehicular manslaughter when operating under the influence is
The punishment for vehicular manslaughter caused by recklessness is
Other consequences of vehicular homicide include revocation of offender’s license by the Registrar of motor vehicles. For a first offender, the revocation will last for 15 years after the conviction. For subsequent offenders, the revocation will last for life.
Generally, voluntary manslaughter refers to killing another person out of provocation. The killing might be intentional or unintentional. Provocation can be in the form of actual provocatory actions or assault. In cases of provocatory actions, killing the provocateur in the heat of passion mitigates the charges from murder to voluntary manslaughter. If the offender was defending themselves from being assaulted by the deceased, using excessive or disproportionate force in self-defense will result in voluntary manslaughter.
Involuntary manslaughter involves the act of unintentionally killing someone due to reckless conduct. This covers instances where the offender neither intended to kill anyone nor cause serious bodily injury, but someone dies due to their reckless or negligent actions. An example is carelessly wielding a dangerous object in a public or populated area, leading to someone’s death.
Upon arrest for murder in Norfolk County, it is essential to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney will evaluate the case and evidence to develop arguments to dismiss the charge. Prior to trial, a criminal defense attorney will also protect the accused from most intimidation tactics a prosecutor may employ in further implicating the accused. The defense attorney may also submit evidence to support arguments for
The facts of each case and evidence for or against the accused will often influence the attorney's defense strategy.