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Standing Up for Criminally-Accused Individuals Since 1979
Murder Defense Lawyers in Madison Heights
Lawyers Fighting First- and Second-Degree Murder Charges
Although murder is one of the most serious crimes you can be charged with, do not lose hope in your case. As with any criminal matter, the law presumes that you are innocent, and the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the alleged offense. The prosecution must provide sufficient evidence to support their arguments to meet this burden. Whether or not the accusations against you are unfounded, it may be possible to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence and weaken their case. For instance, law enforcement officials might have violated your rights during the investigation, or evidence exists showing that you were somewhere else at the time of the alleged crime and are a victim of mistaken identity.
At Jaffe Defense Team, we are prepared to strategically build a defense for you. Our Madison Heights murder lawyers have over 30 years of combined experience and have taken on complex and challenging cases. Recognizing what’s at stake for our clients, we fully prepare for every case we handle and are energized by finding innovative ways to challenge our opponent’s arguments. With us, you will get the individualized and caring legal representation you need. We will be sensitive to your situation but will also be aggressive in defending you.
What Constitutes Murder in Michigan?
A person might be accused of murder if they are alleged to have unlawfully taken another person’s life. The Michigan Penal Code separates murder offenses into different categories depending on the conduct. The various statutes concern first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death. We’ll discuss each in its own section.
What Is Considered First-Degree Murder in Michigan?
First-degree murder involves the killing of another person under certain circumstances. It is punishable by life in prison without parole.
MCL 750.316 lists several ways first-degree murder can be committed:
- Poison, lying in wait, or other means of premeditated killing: The prosecutor must prove that the defendant willfully and intentionally intended to cause another person’s death. They must also show that the defendant planned the murder and acted after reflecting on the conduct and result and deciding how to carry out the offense. If the defendant is accused of murder by lying in wait, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant deliberately intended to take the other person’s life by surprise. If the offense involved poisoning, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant introduced a substance into the person’s body, which resulted in death.
- Felony murder: A person commits felony murder if they cause another individual’s death while committing or attempting to commit a specified felony, such as:
- First-, second-, or third-degree criminal sexual conduct
- First-degree child abuse
- A major controlled substance offense
- Breaking and entering of a dwelling
- First- or second-degree home invasion
- First- or second-degree vulnerable adult abuse
- Aggravated stalking
- Unlawful imprisonment
The prosecutor must prove that the defendant either intended to kill the other person, intended to cause them great bodily harm, or engaged in conduct knowing it could cause great bodily harm or death.
- Murder of a peace officer or corrections officer: To be convicted of this crime, the defendant must have caused the death of a peace officer or corrections officer while that individual was performing their official duties. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant knew that the individual was a peace officer or corrections officer and that the defendant intended to kill or do great bodily harm, or they engaged in an activity knowing that it could result in great bodily harm or death.
What Is Considered Second-Degree Murder in Michigan?
Under MCL 750.317, second-degree murder is an intentional killing without premeditation of another person not falling under the definition of first-degree murder.
When the State pursues a second-degree murder case, the prosecutor must prove that:
- The defendant intended to kill or do great bodily harm to someone or did something that placed another individual at substantial risk of great bodily harm or death;
- The defendant’s actions were not justified or excusable; and
- The defendant’s actions caused the other person’s death.
Although second-degree murder is a lesser offense than first-degree, it still carries harsh penalties, with a conviction resulting in a prison sentence for any number of years and up to life.
What’s Considered Delivery of a Controlled Substance Resulting in Death?
Delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death (MCL 750.317a) is a felony punishable by any term of years in prison or up to life imprisonment. It occurs when an individual provides another person with a schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance, except marijuana, and that person or anyone dies as a result of consuming the drug.
Consult with Our Madison Heights Murder Defense Lawyers
Whatever offense you have been accused of, we are ready to listen to your side of the story. At Jaffe Defense Team, we examine every detail of a case to identify weaknesses in proof, violations of Constitutional rights, inconsistencies highlighting flaws in the prosecutor’s arguments, or other issues showing that guilt cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We have a track record of results, and while our success in previous cases cannot guarantee future victories, what we have accomplished is a testament to our unwavering commitment to our clients. Our team can work toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.
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Jaffe Defense Team
30701 Barrington Street, Suite 100
Madison Heights, MI 48071
- Monday – Friday7:00am – 5:00pm
- Saturday & Sunday Closed
Emergency service available 24/7.
Madison Heights and surrounding areas.
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