First-degree murder charge defense strategies

Of all the crimes a person can be charged with, perhaps the most serious is murder.  Taking another life is considered one of the most egregious crimes a person can commit.  While being charged with first-degree murder is serious, it does not mean you are without many possible defense options.

A skilled and experienced murder defense lawyer will explore a wide range of possibilities during the due diligence portion of a case.  Depending on the facts, some of the murder defense options he or she may look at will include:

Justifiable homicide – Not all homicides are crimes.  The legal justification of self-defense or the defense of others is the most common defense used in murder cases.

Exercise of duty – If a police officer kills someone in the discharge of their duty, and it is without unlawful intent, recklessness or negligence, then the act of murder did not take place.

Accidentalhomicide – When someone is killed accidentally in the course of lawful activities, it does not constitute murder.  Lesser charges such as manslaughter may apply, but unless the killing takes place during the commission of a crime, it is not considered first- or second-degree murder.

Insanity – Most states recognize an insanity defense against a charge of first-degree murder.  Insanity is defined as cognitively being unable to understand the quality of the act of murder when it is committed.  There is a complete disconnect in understanding the consequences.

Mistaken identity – Many times a defense attorney will argue that the wrong person has been charged with murder.  If an alibi is available and it can be supported by evidence or witnesses, this can be an effective counter to a murder charge.

Dwane Cates Law Group proudly serves the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.